348.2 Retention in teaching | Scoins.net | DJS

348.2 Retention in teaching


The linked article generally agrees with the reports on teaching, that a dramatic number of people say they want to change. Change what, quite, varies. I wonder what the churn level was before we had the pandemic. Leaving a job often requires some combination of finding a new job and overcoming the inertia of staying with the old one. But I think we are at an inflection point at which many people are reconsidering the particulars of their lives and of work-life balance." I point out that an inflection point is where the second differential changes sign, so this is a far weaker statement than I guess the editor recognises. It's inflexion in British English, actually, though we're not terribly fussy.

There is a good argument that says we've discovered the extent to which working from home can be made to work and on the way we had quite a bit of opportunity to discover what is good about home and good about the office, so we could quite easily choose to keep what is good about both aspects of location. There's another argument that says this is all too hard (which I read as 'this doesn't suit me personally and I don't want to put the effort in, so screw you and I'll exert the power I have to reject what all you people want').

As for actually quitting, that is very different from talking about it. The inertia that causes people to stay put is huge, not least because of the allied effort, stress and costs involved in actually bothering to move. Which of course is magnified if 'move' encompasses changing house and employer. To an extent, this can be reflected on the ability of some jobs to succeed under what I might call Zoom conditions, leading to the prospect of (US) 'zoom towns' where the rural life can be embraced fully, while relying on the internet for the city-type office employment,  fully remote in a more rural area, permanently.

Personally I think that many jobs can support an element of home working. No doubt on this spectrum there are some which are at one or the other end of a spectrum, where one end is work that simply cannot be done from home such as street-based outside jobs, and at the other end jobs which are already done from home, which would include quite a few of the self-employed. But even those jobs often have elements that are elsewhere.

I continue to maintain that the objection to home working centres around the level of trust between employer and employee. As I noted this week, 'that which cannot be measured cannot be managed'; which reads really well until you find it listed among the great lies of business. Which in turn, I think, merely confirms that it is the measure itself that is at fault and all too often leads to a gaming of the system.

The US labor market (sic, as they'd write it) referred to in the link says the 'quit rate' is around 2.4% per month, while those (only) talking about leaving ranges from 26% to 40%.

survey of NEU members (a teachers' union in the UK) found 80% of 8000 had considered leaving the profession in 2018. Which, you will realise, was before the pandemic and so perhaps even more significant.

In [UK] education, there was a rise in pupils greater than the proportional rise in teachers. The measure used for teacher retention is by the year and across five years; a typical figure is around 68% for a five-year period. Labouring this, that says that 32% of newly qualified teachers leave the profession within five years. Or, to put that another way, we need to train 50% more than we think we need just to provide sufficient supply. In a little more detail, from the 2018 figures:-

 There were 44,600 FTE qualified new entrants in state funded schools in 2018, just over half were newly-qualified teachers, and 16,400 were returning to the sector. However, there were also 42,100 that left. That’s mostly 35,600 qualified teachers who are out of service (which the DfE hopes “may come back as returners in a later year and those leaving the profession”). A total of 6,300 qualified teachers retired, and 130 teachers died during the year. But the overall leaver rate last year was 9.8 per cent – lower than the 10.2 per cent in 2017.  original report. There are 453,400 FTE (full-time equivalent) state-funded teachers, plus 263,900 teaching assistants. So the wastage rate, the proportion leaving in any year, is an astonishing 10%. Just among those trained, we have 100,000 who have never taught. Source. That 68% five-year retention rate is not evenly distributed; it is down at 50% for physics and maths, which suggests that there are other subjects with a much better retention rate. Personally, I'd describe both maths and physics as on the lesser-stress list of subjects to teach.

Image from https://www.nfer.ac.uk/news-events/nfer-blogs/latest-teacher-retention-statistics-paint-a-bleak-picture-for-teacher-supply-in-england/

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