Career and Technical Education (CTE) | Teacher Retention
4 Teacher Retention Strategies to Reduce Turnover in CTE
Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through his own teaching background, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.
As a CTE curriculum developer, administrators tell us that hiring and supporting outstanding teachers is one of their biggest priorities. Unfortunately, retaining those teachers is one of the biggest challenges administrators face year after year.
When you worry about turnover and hiring new teachers, it takes time away from building strong CTE programs that will be successful in the long run.
Thankfully, there are four strategies to better support and retain CTE teachers:
- Provide up-to-date instructional resources
- Reduce the time teachers spend on grading
- Help with reaching diverse students
- Provide mentors for first-year teachers
After reading this post, you’ll have actionable steps you can take to ensure your teachers stay in your CTE program year after year.
1. Provide Up-to-date Instructional Resources
When new CTE instructors are getting used to being in the classroom and learning to manage it, finding time to pull resources together to meet their standards can seem impossible.
While some of these teachers may have a textbook or other resources to use as a base for their curriculum, many others do not.
Providing your teachers with updated instructional resources is an essential teacher retention strategy. When a teacher uses an outdated textbook, students risk not learning the accurate information they need to succeed in the field. This is especially true in CTE pathways such as health science, where recommended medical practice changes frequently.
It’s also just as vital for your curriculum resources to be comprehensive. When these resources meet course standards, your teachers will be confident that students can succeed, and you’ll see better results on assessments and certifications.
A comprehensive curriculum also includes additional resources to reach a diverse audience of learners. When you provide a curriculum with various materials like projects, activities, worksheets, and eLearning components, your teachers can implement a blended learning environment that helps students succeed.
2. Reduce the Time Teachers Spend on Grading
Another major hurdle to teacher success is the amount of time they spend on grading. Because so many CTE educators previously worked in industry, new teachers often don’t realize the amount of time it takes to grade student work.
Teachers often spend hours after school evaluating student work at home, leaving them overwhelmed and frustrated. These extra hours can contribute to teachers burning out and ultimately leaving their position.
This is why finding ways to relieve this frustration is another teacher retention strategy you should employ. Seeing ways to limit the number of hours teachers spend grading will give them more energy to pour into planning their classes and helping students.
One way administrators help reduce the time teachers spend grading is by adopting a curriculum system. Many curriculum systems include the ability to assess students digitally through automatically graded quizzes and tests. In addition, teachers can measure students’ overall performance through built-in reporting tools. This makes it easy for teachers to identify struggling learners while giving administrators like you the ability to measure student performance year over year.
While curriculum systems won’t eliminate all manual grading, limiting the hours teachers spend on this task will go a long way toward boosting their confidence and morale.
3. Help with Reaching Diverse Students
Any teacher will tell you it is tough to meet all students' needs simultaneously. Some students need more direction and one-on-one time, while others are more independent.
Learning the ropes as a new teacher doesn’t leave much time to figure out how to differentiate instruction. Additionally, CTE Programs have large populations of ESL students who excel at hands-on skills but often struggle with reading.
Choosing a curriculum that teachers can quickly adapt to differentiate instruction can save your teachers a tremendous amount of energy. With so little time to individualize lessons for every student, an adaptable curriculum can help them get ahead.
Many teachers find that a curriculum system can help them better reach their diverse student populations. Because students can work at their own pace, the instructors can stress less and focus on students needing extra help.
Your role as an administrator can also make a difference in reaching students who need additional help.
When you provide your CTE instructors with extra resources and specialists, such as ESL and special education teachers, you give them the help that can ensure that every student succeeds. Better still, your teachers will feel like they are genuinely making a difference for every student. This personal connection makes a difference when teachers choose between staying in education or pursuing other opportunities.
4. Provide Mentors for First-Year Teachers
When you are new to education, having someone to guide and assist you can make a huge difference in your overall success as a teacher. Many CTE instructors have shared that working with a mentor teacher during their first year helped them get their classroom up and running and build confidence in their new careers.
A mentor can help new teachers navigate their roles on a day-to-day basis through regular meetings and coaching sessions. They’ll also provide additional support when these teachers face classroom challenges.
While you should consider pairing every new teacher with an experienced educator, mentors are crucial for teachers coming from industry. Unlike career educators who rely on previous experience, instructors who arrive fresh from industry aren’t rehearsed in strategies that longtime educators depend on for success.
When your teachers build relationships with their mentors and colleagues, they create a valuable support network they can depend upon. These connections will help teachers feel a part of a community and more likely to stay in their positions.
Support and Retain Your CTE Teachers
Dealing with constant teacher turnover can be frustrating for an administrator. When you aren’t able to retain quality educators, you can’t grow your program and experience long-term success.
Thankfully, there are reliable teacher retention strategies you can adopt to ensure your instructors feel supported, engaged, and aligned with your school’s mission.
To learn even more about methods you can use to support your teachers, download your free guide to teacher retention strategies. You’ll learn how to help teachers in the classroom and continue to build your CTE program.