Teacher Recruitment & Retention - Challenge Map
Challenge Map

Professional Learning & Support

Teacher Recruitment & Retention

The Challenge

From accountability structures to trauma-informed instruction, teachers’ jobs are not easy. This pressure, coupled with the overall lack of sufficient funding for education, and generally lower pay and prestige compared to other professions, means that teachers are spending less of their careers in the classroom. In order to thrive in the profession, teachers need strong and competent leaders, supportive communities, and early career support as well as opportunities for advancement. In addition to retaining high-quality teachers, many districts find it challenging to recruit teachers. State certification has become increasingly complex with barriers to entry that may be making it difficult for potentially interested teachers to enter the field. Further, many districts are grappling with how to recruit teachers whose backgrounds are representative of their student population as well as teachers with specific subject area or pedagogical expertise (e.g. STEM or special education).

In the Words of District Leaders

I don't think we have a perfectly established new teacher induction program and mentorship ... but this is an issue that can't be ignored because I truly believe more people leave the profession because they don't feel like they have the support from leadership.

“The biggest challenge on retention is just that the work continues to get harder. What’s asked of teachers today is much more than was asked of them when they entered the career, and I think we lose more and more, and we attract fewer and fewer, because the challenges are higher and the expectations are higher, and the resources don’t seem to follow that when it comes to the added pressures of dealing with the mental health and behavioral challenges that exist in our student populations today. The work’s just more difficult.”

Ideas from the Field

  • Multiple districts find that strengthening leadership is vital to teacher recruitment and retention. This can include an emphasis on principal training and recruitment, or in some cases developing a new cadre of teacher leaders.
  • One district shared that they are seeing more and more teacher candidates mentioning the district’s social media presence as both how they learned about job opportunities as well as why they decided to apply.


Check out the following research-based resources for more information about teacher recruitment and retention:

Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It – This report from Learning Policy Institute uses data from the latest National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools and Staffing Surveys and details who is leaving, why, and which students are most impacted.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention: It’s Complicated – From Education Week, an article based on analysis of federal data on the state of teacher recruitment and retention in the US.

What Can We Do About Teacher Turnover? – From Edutopia, this post shares three ideas for reducing the number of teachers who change jobs or leave the profession.

TEACH.org – TEACH.org empowers aspiring educators with resources, experiences, and connections to real teachers, so they can discover what makes this profession great, what makes it challenging, how it’s changing, and how to navigate to success as a professional educator.

New Teacher Center – New Teacher Center improves student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders.

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