It is essential for an educational institute to ensure that teachers are not under extra pressure or are not consumed by work 24x7.
With increased recognition that expert teachers are perhaps the most fundamental resource for improving student learning and brand building, there is growing interest in figuring out how to recruit and retain strong teachers. In India, the number of teachers was 63 lakhs (approx) in the year 2013.
The increase in proportion of economically active population (15-59 years) from 57.7 per cent to 63.3 per cent during 1991 to 2013 has raised an urgent need to increase the number of quality teachers in schools. The challenge faced by many schools to maintain their brand nowadays is to hire and retain good quality teachers.
Contemporarily, job hopping is a common scenario where teachers are motivated to leave the current institute for one which offers better amenities. If you are an edupreneur, we’ve listed a few points that can help you in retaining good teachers:
What Teachers Want
It’s best to get to know from the teachers themselves as to what they expect from their educational institution and what exactly makes them stay. Professor Sunil Ashra, Economics Faculty of Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, says that it is necessary to have the basic infrastructure right. "There has to be a proper system of keeping your teachers. A proper salary system is necessary, which many institutions do not have. Professors working on research should be encouraged, which many institutions don't do. Proper facilities, infrastructure are imminent to retain faculty," he says.
Raminder Kaur, a science teacher, who has been teaching in the same school for the past 25 years, says, “Increase in salary is a major incentive to continue with the same institute. Also, infrastructure and teaching facilities play a very big role in teaching children. It also raises the productivity levels.”
Avtar Narula, a teacher at Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, Ludhiana, for 16 years now, says that while monetary satisfaction is very essential, psychological factors also matter. “Loyalty of a teacher builds when they are respected, motivated and appreciated for the hard work they put in. It’s also important to appreciate and give credit to a teacher for their achievements at the right time. Appreciation is of no use if it comes too late. These are little elements that make a teacher loyal to their educational institution,” she says.
According to Parul Gupta, Head-EU, Internationalising Higher Education, British Council, "Teachers should not be involved in too much administrative work and should let concentrate on what they are best at - teach and engage with students.They should be respected and allowed to maintain their work life balance."
What Institutions Must Do
Cultivate collaboration in schools
Isolation breeds trouble in teaching. Student outcomes improve when teachers are part of professional learning communities. When given time to collaborate, reflect and develop plans to improve on daily, teachers feel more respected, professional and able to adjust and improve their teaching practices.
Plan for a better work/life balance
It is essential for an educational institute to ensure that teachers are not under extra pressure or are not consumed by work 24x7. A teacher stays with an employer who respects their personal life and believes in a healthy work-life balance. In addition to that, a team of teachers, administrators and other school staff can improve the climate and community of the school by planning activities that support wellness and meditation.
Ruchi Kher Jaggi, Director, Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, Symbiosis International University, Pune, lists four aspects that help retain good teachers - Respect, academic integrity, intellectual freedom and support. "When an educational institution invests in the intellectual growth of a faculty member, it not only provides a thought provoking environment but also a strong commitment to the well being of the teacher," she says.
Prof M L Singla, Director, Faculty of Management Studies, also helps us list down a few points required to be taken care of in order to retain good faculty.
An institute needs to provide ample teaching space to teachers to make the process of learning beneficial for students. They should be given freedom to practice teaching their own way. For example, in some management institutes, lecturers prefer to teach without books. Considering the kinds of results they are managing to bring out, the employer must let them teach that way.
Teachers should be given the freedom to attend professional workshops during which they can be made aware about new technologies being introduced for teaching effectively and other ways to improve the teaching skills.
Leadership of the institution
Leaders pave their own way to success and make sure all the peers contribute their best in reaching the goals. It is for the employer to lead the team of teachers in a way that the success of the institution becomes a collective teamwork.
Ownership of the institution
An educational institute is able to make it a brand due to the teachers hired by it. As these teachers play the role of mediators and are aware of the requirements of students and industry, they should be included in the board meetings and the decision making.
Thelocation of an institute also plays a very important role for retaining a teacher. Travelling long distances to reach the institute or commuting difficulty prove disheartening for the staff. By the time they reach their institute, they are tired and exhausted, which affects their teaching process.
The environment of an institute talks about its quality of teachers and faculty. Learned teachers prefer to work in an intellectual environment where they are open to learning and sharing thoughts. Criticism, up to a certain extent and a constructive one, is also welcome.
A regular entry and exit of teachers from an educational institution mars its brand. To keep your brand of education going, it is essential to retain the best staff and not make them have negative experiences. It is the teaching staff’s satisfaction at work that ultimately leads to positive outcomes for educational institutions.
There is no one formula to retaining all good teachers in schools. But edupreneurs must work towards making schools comfortable, creative, refreshing, with exciting learning environments to preserve their most efficient resources, the teachers.
(With inputs from Pragati Ratti Sharma)