Can Leadership Opportunities Help Teacher Retention?
As most teachers will tell you, they are often asked to do more than just teach students.
Teachers often take on more roles in their schools, many times without additional compensation. This is particularly true for teachers of color, who often get asked to take on additional responsibilities, serve on committees, or be default leaders without additional compensation or recognition.
School leadership also plays an important role in the retention of teachers of color. In Delaware, teachers of color cite leadership as the most common major or moderate factor in their decision to leave their school or the classroom entirely. According to a Delaware Department of Education survey, school leadership is the largest reason teachers of color leave the profession followed by district leadership and/or policies, and teacher leadership and/or teacher involvement in decision-making.
This led us to question: What can we do to unpack and influence the impact of leadership on the retention of teachers of color in Delaware?
With that in mind, the team at Rodel worked with a dedicated group of Delaware teachers to research and publish Defining Leadership Roles and Retaining Teachers of Color, a new policy brief authored by Chantalle Ashford, Melodie Miller, Melissa Morris, and Tameka Wingo.
Over the past year, this group of dedicated teachers reviewed existing research, talked to experts in the field, and reflected on their own lived experiences as classroom teachers. Teachers quickly recognized that too often we think of leadership in a linear way with traditional roles such as assistant principal and principal without recognizing the full range of important leadership roles that teachers often play. Through this brief, our teachers worked to uplift and identify the distributed leadership roles in our schools and ways to recognize and support the contributions of the individuals taking on those roles.
The report asks us to rethink teacher, teacher leader, and school leader roles as well as compensation. We know teacher pay has become a major issue in recent years—and we acknowledge the state’s newly formed compensation committee that is currently evaluating and engaging in discussion on this topic.
Bottom line, it’s high time to honor and respect the expertise and time teachers devote to their additional responsibilities. Delaware can do more to uplift and empower teachers who are looking for opportunities to lead without leaving their classroom.