The issue of how to attract and retain talented teachers is an issue that education systems around the world are grappling with.
The Centre for Skills Development has produced a white paper on teacher attraction and retention titled ‘Talent Magnets’. It’s worth reading given the impetus to re-frame schooling.
For me, staffing the 21st century school is one of the tallest hurdles we need to jump. The attrition rates particularly of young teachers is of concern given the difficulty the profession has of attracting the best and brightest to the profession.
There is no denying that the quality of school leaders and the culture of learning communities contribute. We know that schools are only as good as 1) their leaders and 2) the systems that support schools to respond to challenges with creativity.
As a system, we are building the capacity of our leaders in order to develop our aspiring leaders. Because without strong leaders, old practices and cultures do not change; creativity is stifled and learning outcomes do not improve.
Leaders of today’s schools will need to be the architects of a new way of working, thinking, doing in which structures are more flexible, practice is evidence-based, each member contributes equally, collaboration is the norm and creativity is encouraged.
Like any profession, teachers have a right to ask ‘what I am getting out of this’? It comes back to professional and personal satisfaction, and recognition – when these are lacking, people look elsewhere to be challenged, rewarded, affirmed etc.
If we can create the right conditions for learning to happen for students, we should be able to create the right conditions for teachers to remain engaged and inspired in their work. Teachers deserve greater control over their professional working lives and this should look and feel like the working lives of other professions.
What are those conditions?