Teacher turnover can be costly to districts. Research by Wayne State University Assistant Professor Ben Pogodzinski, University of Virginia Associate Professor Peter Youngs, and Michigan State University Professors Kenneth Frank and Dale Belman provides insight on one way to increase the likelihood that beginning teachers continue teaching at their school: pay attention to administrative climate.
Administrative Climate Impacts Whether Teachers Want to Stay
The objective of this research was to examine the association between beginning teachers’ perceptions of the administrative climate and their desire to remain teaching at their school. Based on survey data from 184 beginning elementary and middle school teachers in 11 representative districts in Michigan and Indiana, the researchers found that the probability that beginning teachers report a desire to remain teaching at their school is reduced when they perceive the quality of relations between teachers and administrators as poor. This robust finding holds true even after controlling for a prior measure of intent to remain teaching and after statistically addressing concerns about omitted confounding variables.
What It Means to You
The study by Pogodzinski and colleagues has implications for understanding how beginning teachers evaluate the administrative climate in their schools and how this influences their planned career decisions. The main finding that the quality of relations between teachers and administrators influences beginning teachers’ desire to continue teaching at their school means that administrators need to pay attention to climate. Specifically, not only do administrators need to build positive relationships with their beginning teachers, but they also need to build positive relationships with all teachers and administrators because beginning teachers pick up on the broader administrative climate. Attending to the overall climate of your school will make beginning teachers more likely to want to stay teaching at your school, thereby decreasing teacher turnover. Specific areas to consider in administrator-teacher relations include: level of agreement between administrators and teachers regarding school/district policies, evaluations of teachers’ work, the willingness of teachers to work beyond contractual requirements, and even ongoing quiet discussion among teachers regarding their treatment and school/district policies. A final point to consider is the temporal nature of administrative climate, which the authors point out as different from the more enduring organizational culture of the school. Since administrative climate may fluctuate, it is important for administrators to keep the administrative climate of their school in mind over time if they wish to keep their beginning teachers.