Teaching is losing its magic. Every year, the profession loses some of our most effective colleagues prematurely. Moreover, we fail to attract enough college graduates who have the talent and passion for teaching.
Many teachers find themselves isolated in classrooms without the right training or support. Others receive only one or two afternoons of PD per year. The need for more effective professional development for teachers is especially important right now, with new academic standards being introduced across the country.
Few teachers receive individualized professional development, though many are expected to personalize learning for students. Microcredentials—digital badges that teachers earn by learning a skill and demonstrating mastery through student results—offer a PD pathway designed to be highly differentiated and engaging.
A new survey not only indicates that public school teachers are frustrated with shifting policies, but a majority are losing enthusiasm for the job. Moreover, nearly half say they would quit teaching now if they could find a higher-paying job.
In seeking to save money while also boosting teacher recruitment and retention, the Pierce City R-VI School District in Missouri switched to a four-day school week this school year.
The time is made up by extending the school day 30 minutes. It increased learning time by 20 hours. “We want to create a culture where our good teachers want to stay,” Superintendent Russ Moreland says.
Teachers say they feel refreshed after their routine three-day weekends—a key reason for doing it, he adds.
Districts spend over $25 billion annually on teacher absences, and consistent absences negatively impact student achievement, past studies have shown. A recent study examined teacher and classified staff absence data during that month from4,450 public districts.
For many districts, early retirement incentives are considered a good business practice—a way to cut top-heavy payrolls and replace teachers whose heart may no longer be in the classroom. But without good planning, these incentives can have unintended financial and academic costs.