Reino Makkonen, a Senior Research Associate at WestEd, shared a recent Rand study that tracked factors related to teacher and leader wellbeing, precursors to retention and attrition. Qualities that were measured related to a lack of wellbeing include: burnout, stress, depression, poor coping, and lack of resilience. The working conditions associated with these negative experiences include:
- Work more than 40 hours per week
- More responsibilities for teachers due to staffing shortages
- Salary less than $50,000 for teachers or less than $100,00 for principals
- Exposure to school violence
- Harassed about school COVID-19 safety policies
- Harassed due to teaching about race, racism, and bias
- Experienced incidents of racial discrimination
- Received administrator support (teachers only)
- Received active involvement in school or district decision-making
- Access to employer-provided health supports
Factors that are consistently detrimental to teachers’ and leaders’ wellbeing, include exposure to school violence and harassment. For teachers, taking on more responsibilities due to staff shortages is also harmful to their wellbeing.
Factors that have consistent beneficial effects for both teachers and leaders include active involvement in decision making at the school or district levels. For teachers, receiving administrator support also has a positive impact on wellbeing across all the indicators.
There was general agreement among CoP members that a continued focus on being “data-informed” remains a priority for retention efforts. The cross-state conversation was a powerful reminder to remain inquisitive about successful strategies from similarly situated schools, districts, and state teams.