Australia currently doesn’t have a system to produce national shared data to tell us if teacher attrition is a problem here. Research estimates of teacher attrition vary widely from 8% to 50%.
Does it mean incomplete training, leaving the profession after a few years or training as a teacher but never teaching? Some teachers return after a break. We need to understand each of these.
We don’t know everything about teacher attrition but do know Initial teacher education (teaching) students don’t drop out more than others. They complete study at about the same rate (65%) as other university courses (68%).
The motivations are complex. We need more research to properly understand why teachers stay or leave and what this means for the workforce.
Plans are underway for national teacher workforce data. This will show us who is teaching what and where, as well as whether teachers are leaving the profession at a high rate.
This includes prioritising effective feedback in their schools, investing in teachers’ professional learning and ensuring a school culture that is supportive of feedback practices.
Effective feedback can boost student learning by up to eight months over a year – but it must address a clear learning goal and inform the student about how to improve towards this goal.
Teachers should understand what quality looks like, how the student’s work falls short of that and help the student see and address the gap.
This helps students develop an understanding of quality work, discuss goals and reflect on their progress to become more autonomous in their learning.
Poor feedback can be vague, include harsh criticism, lack detail or rely on extrinsic rewards (like stickers). If students don’t understand the learning goals or success criteria, feedback won’t work.
Then think about how daily activities contribute to achieving these goals.
This will clarify how your day works, when you are most productive and what activities are not contributing towards the big picture goals.
An important task contributes to your goals, an urgent task cannot be delayed, but principals can be busy with all kinds of tasks. Evaluate and prioritise those tasks that will get you there.
Adopt new time-management practices that suit your way of working – utilise a digital calendar, or delegate tasks, so you can balance important, scheduled tasks with unexpected urgent ones.
Monitor what’s effective and what obstacles are preventing you achieving goals. An adaptive leader can make change as required - professional learning on time-management can help too.