Make Teacher Retention a Ripple Effect

Have you seen or read something lately that engaged you in a ripple effect? So much movement,change and action, all stemming from one “drop.”

That ripple effect happend to me after reading this post by fellow blogger Donnie Dicus & this article from Expect More Arizona’s president & CEO Pearl Chang- Esau. After reading the article from Expect More, I knew I wanted to incorporate it into a blog post, especially Legislative Priority #2: Retain Teachers. This past fall I was able to participate in a mock legislative hearing and testify on funding, teacher recruitment and teacher retention. I remember standing firm on the fact that we must stop negative rhetoric about why teachers are leaving and begin to focus our rhetoric on the reasons why teachers choose to stay.

Why Choose to Stay?

For some, being a teacher is a calling; for others teaching is a job that they found themselves in after much exploration in other careers. Regardless of how we ended up in the profession, the fact that we choose to stay is cause to be celebrated.

Donnie discussed dreaming big through the lens of a dream school. This concept made me think of how a dream school could be a key to teacher retention. If we had everything we ever wanted or needed in our school, could this be the catalyst for longevity?

As we continue to work towards our dream school, which could heavily be impacted by funding, might teacher voice/enagement be a pivotal element to teacher retention.

According to Peter Ingersoll, a teacher retention expert from the University of Pennsylvania, “a key reason why teachers leave the profession is the issue of voice, having a voice about the key issues that impact teachers.” This comment made me reflect on the fact that there are things we can do as profession to impact teacher retention that aren’t tied to dollars. As we advocate for more funding, it is almost important that we advocate and show the value of teacher voice in our own settings. How do we use voice to elevate the profession within our district and impact retention at the same time?

Last week, I hosted a Twitter chat with Ed Week Teacher (#ewedchat) in which we discussed recruitment and retention. Conversation focused on why decisions were made to stay or leave, how we chose the profession, and how/if understanding more about the profession before entering, impacted teacher retention. Many of the responses connected to what Ingersoll shared being respected as a professional went a long way, even when money was an issue.

As we continue to advocate for proper school funding and professional pay,I encourage you to reflect on the impact you can make on teacher retention in your setting. It’s imperative to remember that one “drop” can start a ripple, and one ripple is enough to impact change.

Below I have shared some reflective statements and questions:

  • What supports can be provided, not dependent on funding, that can make your school a great place to stay?
  • How can professional learning entice one to stay in the profession? How can you impact this?
  • Celebrate how your needs are currently being met (you are still here aren’t you) and work towards solutions that better meet those needs.
  • How are you working to make teacher voice meaningful? Who is joining you on this journey?
  • Ultimately, why is teacher retention so important? What impact does it have on students? What will you/ others take part in, in order to elevate the profession for those who need great teachers the most?

Please share methods you’ve seen or considered to retain teachers.

I celebrate you for staying!


Danielle Brown

Danielle Brown

Sierra Vista, Arizona

My name is Danielle Brown, and I am a PROUD, National Board Certified (EC-GEN) public school Kindergarten teacher in Southeast Arizona. I will begin my seventh year teaching, with one year as the arts integration specialist and 6 years as a kindergarten teacher. I have a BA in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona and am currently pursuing a Masters in Educational Leadership.

I believe in Board Certification and I support teachers, as a Candidate Support Provider, in their work to achieve Board Certification. I am continuing my journey of teacher leadership from the classroom as a 2016 ASCD Influence Leader, focusing on engaging educators in policy, as well as working as a National Policy Teacher Fellow with Hope Street Group, as well as a new member on the Arizona Teacher Solutions® Team.
I love connecting with other educators, staying solutions oriented and growing as a professional.

You can find me on Twitter @TeachDB17, reach out, connect and let’s grow together.

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