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How to Retain Good Teachers?

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Real Problem Faced By School Leader

How can a school ensure higher retention of its academic staff? What are the steps you follow to ensure that good teachers continue with your school?

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Suggested Solutions to Real Problems Faced by School Leaders

  • The teachers should be able to trust the leadership for an equal opportunity, i.e. no favouritism

  • The leader should communicate frequently and effectively with staff members

  • Transparency should be imbibed in the working culture of the organisation with a proper reward system for good work

  • Empathy towards the workforce

  • Pay the salary which was promised

  • Allot them their subject of expertise to teach

Apart from these, there are factors like having a happiness quotient and overlooking minor errors in their work. Retention is highly dependable on the school leader's negotiation skills..

Kesar Patel

  • Good remuneration

  • A conducive working atmosphere

  • Endorsement of their honest efforts

  • Space for their professional growth

  • A leader should not expect teachers to be working 24x7 for the school

  • Appreciate them publicly and criticise only in-person

Vimla Nihil


Engaging them in the decision-making process of the school ignites ownership.

Anjali Gupte

  • Empowering them through a healthy culture in the school

  • Good HR policies.

  • Good remuneration with annual increments.

  • Believing in them by allowing them to learn from their mistakes

  • If educators are a part of decision-making, they demonstrate ownership of their classes.

  • Be sympathetic to their issues.

Ashutosh Aggarwal


Three A's: Authority, Autonomy and Accountability.

Asllesha Thakur

  • Respecting them by listening to their problems and suggestions carefully

  • Giving them credit for the success of the school as they make your ideas and policies successful

  • Salary as per government norms or more

  • Conducive work environment

  • Opportunities for growth and learning

  • Healthy discussions

  • Educational Interaction and discourse in HODs presence

  • Freedom to make decisions and honouring their decisions

  • The leader should act as a counsellor to teachers

  • Be conscious of their dignity and self-esteem

  • Teachers should have the freedom to innovate.

Anita Sharma


Compassion, empathy, positive atmosphere and team spirit where teachers are not just followers of a leader. They should have a role in designing a curriculum and in decision making. They need to feel that they are valued. If the approach of any criticism is for improvements, any employee would stay. Money matters but it can be replaced by the warmth of the workplace.

Priya Handa


The personal touch of leading by the example can enhance commitment, sincerity and learning.

P S Kelkar


"People don't leave jobs; they leave toxic work cultures". A teacher should feel like a valued team member. They should not be criticised for lapses that may occur at public forums. The workspace should not have intrusion and encroachment. If more autonomy is given to the teachers, there is no reason that a school will have staff attrition. Of course, money does count! So salary as per government provisions is the least that can be done to ensure a happiness quotient amongst the staff.

Sheefali Gupta

  • Lead by example and serve as a mentor and a guide while monitoring the team

  • Treat teachers as team members and help them grow at a professional and personal level

  • Have well defined JDs and roadmap for growth that involves both CPD and various growth paths

  • Have transparency in the process and set agreed-upon accountability for all deliverables

  • Have a well-defined communication matrix for all communications

  • Develop systems and processes to cater to efficient and effective work mechanism

  • Build teams and enable them for effective display of empathy, time management, focused agenda for meetings and adequate PD for collective growth

  • Have regular staff meetings

For help with these appoint an HR.

Namrita K Rathee


The first and foremost thing is to realise that what a teacher wants (in order to stay on) might be vastly different from what the leadership/management thinks s/he wants. If we keep serving them the latter while they desire the former, we will have a problem. Hence, the 1st step is to institutionalise professional development & performance management - there should be a team which listens to what teachers really want. For doing the right thing, these are the main components:

  • Transparent processes & access to key data

  • Compassionate yet consistent procedures/rules and

  • Clear accountability & expectations

On the ground, a leader should:

  • Collaborate & setup clear goals & expectations for the entire year as well as for the next 3-5 years

  • Setup a milestone check (roadmap) & agree upon periodic checks on progress

  • Ensure that the organisation has a transparent remuneration matrix which allows a teacher to know why s/he is paid a particular salary

  • Have simple reward & recognition schemes (like a card of appreciation or organising a small poster with students sharing how much they valued a particular contribution, etc.) which are spread throughout the year

  • Have "rubrics" for awards & recognitions

  • Mobilise funds for growing teachers’ skills and capabilities

  • Collect feedback from students, peers, reporting heads as well as do self-evaluation

  • Maintain a growth (multi-dimension) chart for each employee

  • Identify & encourage avenues of contributing back to the world of education

Anand Krishnaswamy


People also leave a good environment if they feel that the organisational goals are limiting their professional growth and need for a challenging environment that provides opportunities for continuous learning. Any school management that places its’ self-interest above that of the very organisation they founded will continue to have a change of leadership and faculty.

Further, if the Head of School is not given autonomy and conflicting/poor advice from multiple sets of authorities in curricular matters, s/he will also face issues of poor staff morale and loyalty. I have realised pay parity with the best or at least minimum prescribed fails to be a motivator for retention, if not combined with mutual trust, respect, model leadership and freedom to innovate. Teachers are by and large empathetic to the needs of children, if motivated properly.

Nita Arora

  • Attractive salary, timely incentives, regular appreciation and fair awards

  • Systematic work system with a proper hierarchical structure while giving direct access to the principal or director in the time of need

  • Regular vacations, picnics and retreat programmes for teachers

  • Availability of child-care centres for the staff in school premises

  • All kinds of financial securities like PF, Tax Guidance and help, Group Insurance, teachers’ society to provide financial help like loans during their personal problems

  • Encouragement for their personal growth. Allow them to conduct extra coaching classes in the school itself after school hours and provide them with incentives from the coaching fee

  • 50% Fee scholarship for permanent/Confirmed teachers kids in our school

  • Trust, Love and respect teachers work.

Vijayalaxmi Manerikar


About the Author

Dr. Atul Nischal is the Founder of the International Council for School Leadership (ICSL) and serves as the Program Director of ReSET, the 3 week online certificate program for educators.


Support ICSL

ICSL is a not-for-profit organization on a mission to inspire, empower, and enable school leaders and educators. You can support us by becoming a member, participating in our programs (Friday@5, ReSET), and spreading the word amongst all educators in your network. Your support is very critical for our mission.



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