Schools Workforce & Workplace
QoL Solutions Can Help Retain Teachers
Richard Hill
Richard Hill
VP Marketing
Schools, Sodexo North America

Every year, about 13 percent of the nation’s 3.4 million teachers transfer to different schools or leave the profession altogether, according to the Alliance for Excellence in Education in collaboration with the New Teacher Center. It’s estimated that over 1 million teachers move in and out of schools annually, with 40 to 50 percent of teachers quitting within five years.

This issue doesn’t just impact schools, it impacts the entire community, including parents, local companies, and other stakeholder groups. Teacher attrition costs state governments between $1 billion and $2.2 billion annually.

Experts attribute teacher attrition to inadequate teacher preparation, lack of work-life balance, dissatisfaction with compensation, better career opportunities and challenging working conditions.

With limited resources, local school districts don’t always have the awareness or means to address the issues that cause teachers to leave. But strategic partners and contracted service providers can help. Outside service providers can offer both the resources and expertise to improve teachers’ quality of life. For example, service providers can help schools improve workplaces and working conditions, offer benefits and services to help staff achieve better work-life balance, make workplace processes easier and more efficient to give teachers more time to focus on their students.

To improve quality of life for staff, services partners must first understand the unique challenges that teachers and school administrators face. (Many of Sodexo’s research insights on this topic can be found in our Workplace Trends Report.) For example, if a teacher has responsibilities outside of work—such as caring for an aging relative—it could impact their time, energy and finances. Offering in-home senior care services as part of a comprehensive benefits package can help take the burdens of care away and allow teachers to obtain personal balance. Alternatively, if a teacher feels overwhelmed by the demands of the first year of teaching, a program such as Sodexo’s Circles, which offers help with personal tasks like running errands, can improve work-life balance.

Service providers have the ability—and the responsibility—to improve teacher retention by by improving quality of life for teachers. This won’t just help the school districts we work for retain staff, it will help communities across the country thrive.

What other ways can we combat teacher attrition? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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One comment on “QoL Solutions Can Help Retain Teachers

  • Ginger Pasley says:

    Being one of these teachers who left and is now employed with Sodexo that may provide some insight to this question. Reasons that I left the teaching profession where:
    the pay barely paid for my childcare and none of my dry cleaning,
    working at school and then taking all the work home to grade,
    having every planning time taken because I was required to provide class coverage for others who were out due to no substitute teacher funds,
    constant demands for after school responsibilities making a regular work day over 10 and sometimes 12 hours,
    having to pay my benefits out of my savings for the summer three months because it was not part of the contract for 9 months and this took one month of my pay just to keep health insurance,
    having no support and no budget for supplies to the point where I was not able to teach science without asking students to constantly bring into the classroom supplies and when they did not bring the supplies then I had to provide out of my limited resources the funds to buy the materials,
    no respect from students or parents,
    class room sizes that get larger and larger and students who need more help,
    add the continual training required to keep my licensure that I had to pay for out of my pocket to keep my job,
    and well no one can work for free,
    and lastly add the fact that working from 7 am to 4 pm there was no time to take a break to go to the restroom or often eat because I was constantly asked to supervise students.

    No one would want to do this job but we ask teachers to train our children but treat them this way, so no wonder they leave. I left to go to a higher paying job to teach at the community college on a 12 month contract, but after 17 years they ended my program and terminated my contract because they desired to have more students and more fees and the program for which I taught was not making enough money for them. So we teach them college transfer classes and take their pell grant money and leave them with than 15% transfer rates. They come out with no training for work, but we cancel the work programs because it does not make the school enough money.
    Well now I teach cleaning, teamwork, collaboration, respect and safety to my employees daily but there is a wider audience that could be reached. Too bad the pay and work conditions are so terrible, because teaching is an honorable profession and I would go back in a minute if I could earn some respect and enough money to pay the bills. Teachers make half my salary and my salary is 25% less than what I made as a professor. If we do the math it is simple, teachers leave because they can not survive on the pay rate. Most all teachers enter the profession to make a difference and enjoy teaching, but survival is more important.

    Reply

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