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  • Writer's pictureCindy Copich

Teacher Surveys Aren't The Answer: School Districts Need to Do More

Updated: Feb 7

👨‍🏫 Teacher Retention Interview Finding:

I recently asked a veteran teacher why they were leaving their teaching position as a kdg. teacher after 30+ years. This is someone I have known in their professional role for more than 20 years. I also happen to have first-hand experience of just how incredible they are as a teacher. They said they didn't want to leave and would have loved to stay, but that they lacked the "support" to do their job effectively. They said, "the stress put on me and the students- just isn't worth it."

Here's the thing. A survey might identify "lack of support", but a one-on-one retention interview (the type I do as a consultant) provides ACTIONABLE information. I can ask the important follow-up question: "Tell me what type of support you need."

Why is this so important? "Support" can mean 100 different things to an educator, and a survey won't provide the opportunity to clarify. When school districts ONLY use survey data to make decisions in their effort to improve retention, they come up short. Districts must be able to identify the root cause of the issue in order to take effective action. THIS is why I do what I do! Start with a staff survey, but don't stop 🛑 there. I love that I get to help districts with retention interviews to identify actionable solutions that improve teacher retention.

The type of "support" this teacher needed was very specific. They needed more support for special education students in their classroom. They were often the only adult in the room with 25+ students. They felt this was a horrible disservice to students, particularly those with profound special needs. They felt this put them in a situation that could be determintal to the student's wellbeing.

Once districts identify this information, they must develop plans to address teacher concerns. This ACTION demonstrates that a district values their teachers as professionals AND that they care about students. THIS is what effectively improves teacher retention!


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