"Teachers teach because they care. Teaching young people is what they do best. It requires long hours, patience, and care.” ~ Horace Mann
Teacher job dissatisfaction is a major factor in the ongoing teacher shortage. When teachers feel overworked and underappreciated, they’re more likely to be dissatisfied and thus, more likely to leave their jobs or – as is happening more frequently than ever – leave the teaching profession entirely. As a society, we cannot afford to lose teachers, and neither can our children.
At Alludo, we believe that teachers deserve all the recognition in the world for the hard and important work they do. It’s why we’ve built both recognition and teacher feedback into the online learning environments we create. Here are nine ways that recognition and feedback can increase teacher job satisfaction and reduce turnover.
How Much Do Teachers Struggle with Stress and Burnout?
Teacher stress and burnout are an ongoing issue that’s only getting worse. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers were already feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The added stress of learning new technology, adapting to distance learning, and supporting students who were struggling to learn in a new environment have added to the problem.
A 2022 article in Forbes referenced an EdWeek survey that found that 60% of teachers reported being stressed out and overwhelmed. We’re not surprised by that number. Some of the key reasons for the increase in teacher stress are as follows:
Longer working hours
Lack of resources
Lack of planning time
Behavioral challenges with students
Because school leaders have also been experiencing challenges, it’s possible that teacher recognition and descriptive feedback have fallen by the wayside – or at least decreased to a point where teachers no longer feel they are adequate.
Certain methods of teacher evaluation may cause stress as well. For example, random evaluations and classroom walkthroughs may put teachers under the microscope and add to the feeling that they’re not appreciated.
When teacher stress is not addressed, the likelihood increases that they will leave the profession to pursue a job where they feel their contributions are valued. It’s essential for school districts and assistant superintendents to recognize the increasing problem of teacher dissatisfaction and do what they can to address the contributing factors.
9 Ways Recognition and Feedback Can Increase Teacher Job Satisfaction
There are many ways that recognizing teachers and providing effective feedback for the work they do can make them feel satisfied in their jobs and decrease the likelihood of their leaving.
Teacher feedback plays an important role in helping teachers feel supported and appreciated. Here are three key factors that explain the importance of feedback which also point in the direction of how to provide effective feedback to teachers.
#1: Teachers Who Want to Grow Need Feedback to Improve
Teacher feedback is essential because it helps to create a growth mindset. Teachers who are eager to learn and grow to become more effective in the classroom may lose interest in their growth if it happens in a vacuum.
When positive feedback is provided regularly, teachers expect and crave it because it reassures them that they’re on the right track and tells them that their efforts are recognized. In other words, ongoing teacher feedback encourages growth by giving teachers the validation and motivation they need to see as a reward for their efforts.
#2: Feedback Can Tie Directly to District Goals and Initiatives
At Alludo, we have talked to many districts that have been frustrated in their efforts to meet district goals and complete desired initiatives. Teacher feedback can increase the likelihood that your district will meet its goals and that initiatives you introduce will be successful.
For example, your district might have a goal to get students and teachers up to speed with new technology. Your feedback can help teachers assess their progress and make adjustments to their efforts to ensure that they meet your expectations.
#3: Side-by-Side Coaching Can Help Teachers Grow Quickly
While any kind of feedback may be effective, immediate feedback offers teachers the best opportunity to feel validated and to make necessary adjustments in what they’re doing. Immediate feedback can be provided with side-by-side coaching.
We should note here that immediate feedback can also be provided in the form of online asynchronous professional development where teachers get immediate feedback and coaching on their performance and are rewarded for their efforts.
Now, let’s talk about how performance feedback can and should fit into professional development for teachers.
#4: Providing Specific Tools, Resources, and Guidance to Implement Feedback
Professional development – especially online asynchronous professional development – provides teachers with a wide array of tools, resources, and guidance to get the feedback they need.
For example, on Alludo’s platform, teachers get immediate feedback on microlearning activities as they complete them. They also get rewards for completing activities. Districts can choose the rewards they offer to maximize engagement.
#5: Allow Teachers to Analyze Existing Growth Areas and Explore New Ways to Grow
Traditional PD doesn’t allow teachers to have a voice and a choice in what they learn. With online asynchronous learning, teachers can evaluate their existing knowledge and expertise and then, choose and explore new ways to grow.
Instead of requiring teachers to complete the same training as their peers, choose a system where teachers can pursue individual areas of growth and set their own goals. Ultimately, teachers will feel more connected to the professional development activities they complete and they’ll be more likely to use what they learn in the classroom and to the benefit of their students.
#6: Give Teachers a Choice in Which Resources to Use to Refine Their Teaching Practice
Traditional PD usually requires teachers to purchase course materials which they may or may not choose to keep when the training is complete. With online training, course materials are available online and teachers have the option to access them at any time to refine their teaching.
Providing teachers with access to resources may encourage them to engage in self-evaluation and feedback to augment what they’re getting from online programs and from educational leadership. For example, they might record themselves in the classroom and evaluate the recording to identify areas for improvement.
#7: Provide New Areas for Professional Growth and Development
The immediate feedback that teachers get with online asynchronous PD can help them identify new areas for professional growth and inspire them to improve their instructional practice beyond their district’s PD requirements and expectations.
Effective feedback and coaching, as we noted above, creates a growth mindset where teachers expect feedback and value it – and then use it to continue to grow as educators. The Alludo content catalog has thousands of microlearning activities, making it possible for any teacher to pursue what interests them the most.
Finally, here are some ways to recognize teachers for the hard work they do.
#8: Recognize and Celebrate Success
Everybody likes to be praised when they do their jobs well and make a difference in the world. If your district makes it a priority to celebrate teachers, they are more likely to feel satisfied and supported. They’re also less likely to leave their jobs.
Some options to recognize teachers include social media shout-outs, internal communications such as emails or memos, or cards. You could also include teachers’ successes in your daily announcements at school or at assemblies.
#9: Plan Professional Learning Communities and Time for Collaboration
Building a professional learning community like the ones we create at Alludo is a terrific way to provide teachers with both recognition and feedback. Learners get immediate feedback as they progress through online activities. We’re also working on a new feature that will increase collaboration.
If your professional learning community also includes gamification and friendly competition, there’s recognition in the form of badges and rewards. At the same time, learning in a community can inspire teachers to collaborate with one another as they learn, something that can make them feel supported while being fun and rewarding.
Alludo has created an online PD platform that helps school districts achieve high engagement and success with district goals and initiatives. The districts we partner with have had great success in increasing teacher retention.
Our system works because it does the following things:
Give teachers a voice in their professional growth journey
Address and prioritize teacher happiness
Provide immediate feedback for the work teachers do in PD
Reward teachers with badges and prizes
We’re even working on a new feature, Message Boards, that will allow educators, coaches, and administrators a place to collaborate, share, and recognize achievements all in one place. We believe that encouraging collaboration and communication is one of the keys to teacher job satisfaction because, as we noted above, peer support is just as important as administrative support.
Boost Teacher Job Satisfaction Through Recognition and Feedback
Boosting teacher job satisfaction isn’t as difficult as you might think. While there are certainly other factors to consider, providing teachers with constructive feedback for their work and recognition for their successes can go a long way toward building satisfaction and ultimately, reducing teacher turnover.
Experience personalized learning for all levels of educators with a free trial of Alludo’s professional development platform. You’ll enjoy: