20th May 2021
Can you name a particular teacher who impacted your life as a student? Many of us can recall a teacher who inspired us. High-quality teachers stand out as they teach with a passion and genuinely care for their students. Teacher quality matters, and never more so now, as students will spend the next few years making up for time that has been lost during the pandemic.
Recently commenting on new analysis by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), Luke Sibieta, Research Fellow at the EPI said: ‘The evidence clearly shows that catch-up is not a natural process — it requires active and sustained investments in high-quality teaching.’
So how do you recruit an exceptionally effective teacher for increased student achievement? And once they are working in your school, how do you encourage them to stay with your school for their whole career?
Teachers inherently want to be part of something bigger than themselves — they want to make a difference, so you must aim to help the candidate envision the positive impact they can make at your school. Try to be as specific about the role as you can to inspire them; you want your job spec to stand out. You need to sell your school to them, so use engaging videos where possible.
Rather than simply listing the perks of the job in bullet points, describe the benefits of these perks so that they can imagine themselves using them.
Help to inspire a high-quality candidate to apply for the position by using strong verbs in the job description. For example, ‘shaping’ their students to ‘enable’ success. This will generate excitement in a teacher who is passionate about their responsibilities.
Your candidates will be checking out your school website before applying, so try to include an employer section where you could put videos of your staff saying why it is such a great place to work.
Make sure that the candidates can apply for the job online and via a mobile phone; you don’t want to miss out on a superior candidate simply because they are busy and in demand. Practice applying yourself so that you can make sure that it works smoothly.
Ask your current teachers to recommend candidates for open positions in exchange for incentives. If they are currently happy and working well at your school then they will probably know like-minded teachers who will also fit in well into your school environment.
By being willing to invest in professional development, you are showing that you have every confidence in your candidate in the long term and that they are worthy of investment. By allowing them to choose their professional development, you can help them to achieve their goals and pursue a role that inspires them.
Professional development opportunities will entice candidates to apply for your job, but they also help you to retain your staff. Make certain you have the highest quality teachers, who are always up to date with the latest teaching research and learning from the best in their field. High-quality teachers advance their knowledge throughout the years.
To get the best out of a member of staff, you have to find out what motivates them so that you can appeal to that incentive when you are interviewing them, and then again when they are working in the school to help retain them.
Every teacher will have a combination of different motivations, from their family at home (work flexibility and job sharing might be valuable to them), to influencing the next generation and making a positive difference, to an area of teaching they are passionate about and want to learn or experience more. By building relationships with your staff and getting to know them, you will be making them feel more comfortable, happy and settled within your school, knowing that the school is meeting their needs.
It is vital that teachers feel valued and listened to. If teachers are happy, they are more likely to go that extra mile for the school and stay in their job. Ask teachers to contribute their thoughts and ideas towards the school management, not just in their classroom.
Staff wellbeing is also of vital importance. As a school leader, you must nurture a positive culture within your school so that staff encourage each other, and that achievements are recognised and celebrated. Organise social events for the teaching staff to meet and relax outside school, thereby strengthening relationships and fortifying the bond the teacher has with the school.
Creating a mentorship programme for new teachers can help to welcome them into the school so that they are settled and want to stay, and at the same time provide current teachers within the school with recognition and value.
Providing leadership opportunities for teachers outside their own classroom will enable them to feel that they are part of the decision-making processes within the school — so that they can contribute to the school and become an integral part of it. Even if a promotion is not immediately available in the near future, leadership opportunities such as a peer coach or teacher mentor provide rewards.
Recruiting and retaining the best teachers is vital for any school. The teaching world is currently filled with more challenges and constant change at a moment’s notice and this requires high-quality teachers to ensure that one thing remains constant — inspiring and supporting the next generation.
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