Do you ever feel overwhelmed, isolated, or under-supported on your teaching journey? If you said yes to any of that, you’re not alone. Many teachers have felt underappreciated, misunderstood, or isolated within their profession. However, it doesn’t have to be that way! By using teacher support networks, you’ll have a lifeline for educators worldwide. Now, these aren’t just random groups, these are communities and learning centers. More than that, they are an extended teaching family. Using teacher support networks can be the magic ingredient you need to transform your teaching, boost your spirits, and improve teacher retention.
Wait, What’s Teacher Retention?
Before we get into teacher support networks, let’s talk about what teacher retention really means. Teacher retention is the ability a school and other educational institutions have to keep their teachers engaged and committed to their roles within the school for a long period of time. This takes a delicate balance of creating an environment where teachers want to stay, continue to grow, and positively impact their students’ lives.
Teacher retention has been a big focus for the last several years. However, it became a hot topic in the late 1980’s because of the increase of students as well as teachers who were ready to retire. This made schools start to focus on recruiting and retaining quality teachers.
Why Teacher Retention is Tough
Keeping great teachers can be a challenge, but why? Well, there are many reasons like lack of administrative support, high-stress levels, low pay, and sometimes a lack of personal satisfaction. If these challenges don’t get discussed and worked on, it leads to a high turnover rate which can impact student achievement and cause a rift in the school community. A great way to ease these challenges are teacher support networks.
The Power of Teacher Support Networks
Teaching is a demanding job and the good news is you don’t have to do it alone! Having strong teacher support networks has become an essential. Why? Simply because they provide space for teachers to share experiences, gain knowledge, and give and receive emotional support and promote professional growth.
Because I believe so strongly in these networks, here at Farrah Henley Education, we have teacher support networks that are a dynamic and vibrant learning community. The K-2 Teacher Support Group and the 3-5 Teacher Support Group are two perfect examples of our efforts to create teacher support networks at Farrah Henley Education. In both of these groups, you can connect with other educators, exchange ideas, and foster a sense of camaraderie.
Sharing Knowledge in Teacher Support Networks
Every teacher has his/her own unique experiences depending on where they are from, the districts they teach in, and more! With this, each of us has creative lesson plans, and practical classroom management strategies. In our teacher support networks at Farrah Henley Education, we encourage teachers to talk about what they know and to share strategies they have used and loved as well as activities and classroom management techniques. With this teacher network, new teachers gain information from experienced teachers and teachers who have been around awhile can get some fresh, innovative ideas.
A Network of Emotional Support and Community Building
Teaching is incredibly rewarding but it can be emotionally demanding. With the support networks available at FHE, you never have to worry about going through anything alone. These networks are a great place for educators to express their feelings, discuss challenges, and celebrate victories, big and small. One of my favorite groups is our Easy Centers Experience group. This group has a great community that is great for mutual support and positivity.
Teacher Support Networks Create Professional Development Opportunities
Professional Development can be something that we don’t totally love to hear. However, in these groups, they are a blast. In these groups, we host webinars, workshops, and discussions on topics that are current and relevant today. This creates a culture of learning and enables teachers to stay up to date with the latest educational trends, strategies, and technology. All of this enriches your teaching practice!
The Impact of Teacher Retention
Let’s go back to what teacher support networks are all about: teacher retention. When we have avenues to support each other, we are more likely to stay which is what teacher retention is all about. These groups create job satisfaction, make you feel a part of and less isolated, give you learning opportunities, and give you a sense of belonging. Teachers who feel valued, heard, and motivated to continue in their profession will stay. Therefore, teacher support networks help reduce turnover rates naturally.
The teacher support networks at Farrah Henley Education are more than just your average groups–they are communities. Within these groups, you can learn, grow, vent, and get great ideas from fellow teachers. When you join these groups, you can embrace your fellow educator and help boost retention which is incredibly important! So, use these groups to celebrate the spirit of teaching and stand together as a community. We are truly stronger together.