Revealed: How To Keep The Best Teachers

Revealed: How To Keep The Best Teachers
By David Westley
Do your children attend a UAE school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
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Other articles in the survey:
UAE Teacher Turnover: Sky High – Or Just Average?
3 in 4 Teachers ‘Looking for New Job’
Revealed: How To Keep The Best Teachers
Teachers: What They Really Want Is…
Geography No Limit to UAE Teacher Ambition
British Teachers: Where is the Love?
American School Teachers: Over Sold by Over Here

 

Salary and opportunities for career progression are the two most compelling things a school can offer to retain staff according to the WhichSchoolAdvisor.com Teacher Survey.

A "new challenge" was ahead of salary as the single largest reason UAE teachers gave as to why they had left their last job (28.87%), while career progression was just behind salary as a motivator to stay on in their current school (but significantly behind salary - 79.62%).

Three out of four teachers would, moreover, leave their current position for one in another country "if a better opportunity came up". UAE teachers are foot loose, and clearly global in outlook, at least when it comes to career opportunity.

Given teachers in the emirate are not made locally, but trained elsewhere before being recruited and flown to the UAE, this should come as no surprise. What is perhaps surprising is that teachers are by and large not looking to return home after the UAE - 77% of respondents want more international experience away from their home country.

If all this sounds like UAE schools are in a global fight for the best teaching talent, they are. The good news for schools in the emirates however is that, by and large, teachers want to be won over by their current school.

Over half (54.72%) want to stay on at their current school after their contract ends, and another 35.43% are undecided. Less than 10% of teachers do not want to stay on.

More good news is that teachers are by and large a happy bunch. According to the survey 22.66% of teachers are "very happy" with their current role, and another 45.32% "somewhat happy". Less than one in 5 (19%) are either unhappy or somewhat unhappy.

That does not mean teachers do not have their eye on what's next - they do. According to the survey 44.6% of teachers are "actively looking for another job", despite the fact that 65% of respondents have 6 months or more left on their current contract.

"A teacher is like any other economically rational agent, and will be continuing to look for better opportunities, noted James Mullan, the co-founder of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com. "The good news for UAE schools is that if they are not complacent about the talent they have within their schools, they have the power to retain their staff - it is within their grasp simply because teachers by and large are happy and looking to be given reasons to stay.

"That does not mean a school will want to keep all teachers," Mullan added. Schools themselves need to manage a blend of young and experienced staff to keep overall salary expenses within budget. New teachers coming in are a way to stop costs rising.

"The most innovative schools will however find ways of keeping their best teachers without always resorting to paying them more - something that is fiscally unsustainable in the long term".

According to the survey whiles salary does top the list of answers given as to what would make a teacher stay in their current school, it is not the only consideration. Career development (46.39%), leadership (44.51%), professional development (32.29%) and better working conditions (36.99%) are also powerful weapons in a school's arsenal.

The most powerful thing a school can do to retain staff is however something not stated by teachers but is revealed in a deeper analysis of the survey's responses. When respondents said Yes to the question "Does your school value its teachers", just 3% said they did not want to renew their contract when it ended. When respondents said No to the same question, 25% said they did not want to renew their contract.

Showing you care and value your teachers by itself costs nothing. It is however the hardest thing to do - if you do not really mean it.

 

Other articles in the survey:
UAE Teacher Turnover: Sky High – Or Just Average?
3 in 4 Teachers ‘Looking for New Job’
Revealed: How To Keep The Best Teachers
Teachers: What They Really Want Is…
Geography No Limit to UAE Teacher Ambition
British Teachers: Where is the Love?
American School Teachers: Over Sold by Over Here

 

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