Let’s start with an assumption: School districts are focused on creating environments that contribute to student success. Everyone on board so far? Given that ultimate objective, they’re going to need a teaching staff that’s up to the challenge. This is an important issue because recruitment and retainment are difficult for many districts across the country. Many factors contribute to finding (and keeping) the best student educators, but one glaringly obvious, underutilized, and controllable factor in the equation is the technology a district can use to its advantage in this situation. We’ve previously discussed that implementing 21st century classroom technology isn’t really that groundbreaking (it is 2018, after all), but one of the easiest ways to foster an environment that delivers better student outcomes is to understand and meet the needs of the 21st century teacher.
How do you attract the newest teachers to your school?
Many districts are excited about new teachers.This is a complex subject to address and we want to make it clear that under no circumstances are we saying that new teachers are better than seasoned educators. New teachers do carry benefits like working for lower salaries and they also have the tendency to be more coachable. Everything is still new and exciting right out of college, so brand-new teachers are more likely to be receptive of training on specific teaching methods, and there’s often a higher level of overall enthusiasm. (Of course, there are always exceptions on both sides of the fence.) So how do districts attract the new recruits? Part of it falls to the recruitment process, and part of it requires a school that’s marketable. Technology can contribute to both.
From a recruitment standpoint...
...districts should be moving away from the brick-and-mortar approach. Many schools still use it because bringing prospective teachers on campus for an interview/discussion is what has always been done. Our question is: Why? Being married to this process limits the candidate pool to those who live nearby and/or those the district can afford to bring in. Instead, districts should leverage telepresence to expand that pool and save time and money in the process. Students, faculty, and parents have access to video on their personal smartphones, so why wouldn’t districts use this ubiquitous technology to their advantage? Panels can conduct interviews just as effectively over video. They can gather the same information from candidates and with a little planning, they can show off the campus, the classroom(s), the parking lot(s), the teacher’s lounge, and more. The added bonus: The medium for the interview(s) sends a message that the district is not only innovative but is seeking teachers who will be innovative as well.
When it comes to retaining talent...
Let’s pretend that a district has followed the first step and put together a first-class roster of teachers who are willing to go the extra mile to provide an exceptional educational experience. Let’s face it: Simply throwing money at teachers then not following through with innovative teaching opportunities leaves the district vulnerable to other districts that can do the same. Given that, it’s imperative to maintain a desirable teaching environment once new teachers come on board. Competitive pay, benefits, and adequate HR resources all contribute, but this is also another opportunity for the district to leverage technology. It’s increasingly important for districts to have the technology that allows teachers the flexibility to actually make pedagogical shifts and truly adapt their classrooms. It’s a fact that students learn better with media and technology—it’s how they have experienced much of their lives so far. Why would districts not continue down that path for their formal education? Teachers get frustrated and become a flight risk when they aren’t provided opportunities to shape the educational process. It’s ultimately best for the student, so why not implement the systems that allow teachers to continue to innovate in their classrooms and deliver course material in ways that provide the best possible learning opportunities?
We’re on board and will do whatever it takes to help your district attract and retain the best possible talent. There are many varying technologies that can contribute to this end goal, but the key here is that at DGI we don’t start with the equipment—we start with the end in mind and deliver technology that will help you accomplish the goal.
We follow a six-step proven process to ensure that every project is tied to measurable success criteria and organizational objectives.
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and learn how you can start using it to achieve business goals: