Course Content
Recruitment Research
Retention Research
About Lesson

How Do We Get Them to Stay?

Retention of educators has been an issue for allĀ fields of education, but this is especially a concern for CTE. Some of this is due to the immense variety of opportunities that these teachers can seek out and pursue in the industry of their choice outside of the classroom. This, however, is actually a much smaller role in the decision for a teacher to stay or go than most of us would conclude.

Some of the largest factors that contribute to a teacher’s decision come directly from feelings of success in the classroom, self-efficacy, wages and wage growth, individual student success, relationships with administration, facility resources, professional development support and personal confidence levels.

We Like What We Do

Typically, teachers in the field of CTE are satisfied with the subjects (83%) and students (70%) they teach.

This implies we aren’t noticing a considerable majority of CTE instructors leave due to students or the content they are teaching. In other fields of education these play a major role in the longevity of educators careers, but in CTE the more glaring issues are wages, administration, facilities or resources and professional development opportunities.

Give Them What They Want and Need

A study from the 2004-2005 school year found that over 15%of
public school educators had left their school for another school offering better wages and benefits.

Now, take that and think about the implications it has for CTE where most of these educators have opportunities in industry and the private sector that can provide them more substantial financial security. Realistically, teacher wages is a significant determining factor but it is not one that we can remedy overnight or provide best practices for.

It turns out, however, that there are ways that we can substantially counteract the downsides of wages for educators. One of these ways is by cultivating and fostering overwhelmingly positive relationships between educators and administration.

A study conducted in 2007 found that 37%of teachers leave a school if they have dissatisfaction with the administrators in their current schools. Another study also found “An effective principal [or director] may have the ability to create a positive working environment for teachers, in spite of attributes of school typically associated with high turnover.”

Therefore, it is promising that positive working relationships and support from administrators can provide some needed leverage in keeping our CTE professionals in the classroom.

Of course there are other factors that we can also capitalize on including providing high quality resources and materials, as well as improving school facilities. Again, we recognize that a lot of this comes down to funding but allocating funds into the places that most influence teacher retention could be a worthwhile investment, particularly for districts showing high turnover in teaching staff.

The resources that teachers value most, from research conducted in the early and mid 2000s, are physical school conditions and quality of textbooks and
technology. We expect the desire to have adequate and substantial access to technology will continue to play a weighty role in teacher satisfaction, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, as virtual education and hybrid classes for students have become more commonplace. We intend to further expand into this
research as COVID continues to dramatically change the face of education moving forward.

Aside from the physical resources, teachers are also more interested than ever before in having ample opportunities for professional development and the support from their administrators to attend these events.

Research suggests “teachers who feel successful with students and whose schools were organized to support them in their teaching providing collegial interaction, opportunities for growth, appropriate assignments, adequate resources, and school-wide structures supporting student learning- were less likely to leave their school than teachers in schools who were not organized to support them.”

The questions that linger are:
– How do we do this?
– What are the best practices supporting teachers?
– How do we create environments conducive to professional development and teacher happiness?