The engagement of faculty is essential not only for enrollment growth, but also for the overall effectiveness of the school. Unfortunately, according to recent Gallup polls, only 37 percent of teachers are currently considered "engaged."
What is Teacher Engagement?
Engaged teachers are those that are enthusiastic and dedicated to their work. These teachers feel well supported by their school and its administration. They also report higher levels of purpose and wellbeing. Disengaged teachers, on the other hand, do not feel enthusiastic about their work. These teachers are apathetic, disconnected and likely to miss work. In fact, disengagement among teachers has been linked to nearly 2.3 million missed workdays annually.
Why is Teacher Engagement Important?
Teachers are the primary "product" your school has to offer. Teachers create the experience for students, and it is this experience that families are purchasing when they pay tuition to the school. If this experience is not positive, students will not return to the school, nor will families promote the school to others. Furthermore, teacher engagement is the top predictor of student growth. Thus, if you hope to increase enrollment and improve the effectiveness of your school, increasing teacher engagement is essential.
Improving Teacher Engagement
To improve teacher engagement in your school, follow these tips.
- Make sure teachers understand their value and responsibility.
Some teachers may not realize how important they are to students' experiences, as well as to their likelihood of re-enrolling. Administrators should help teachers understand and embrace their value to the school and their responsibility to provide the best possible experience for every student. Administrators can help teachers evaluate their own effectiveness by encouraging them to monitor attrition rates and retention rates, both schoolwide and in their own classrooms.
- Equip your teachers with the knowledge they need to "sell" the school.
Give your teachers the information they need to be able to market the school, both to current families and prospective families. For example, all faculty members should have a copy of the school's view book, information about the school's current profile, specific success stories, scholarships received and any other factor that demonstrates the school's value. Encourage teachers to share this information with current students and their families, as well as anyone who may be interested in the school.
- Train your teachers.
Train your teachers to behave as you would like them to in different situations by engaging them in role playing. For example, at least once each quarter, you may decide to have one of your most articulate teachers model the behavior you would like to see from faculty during a tour of the school. Invite teachers to divide into groups and take turns answering questions about the school. When answering these questions, encourage teachers to focus on the academic aspects of the school, especially if your school deals with grades 5 and under.
- Encourage communication with the admissions office.
Keep everyone in the school engaged and working toward better enrollment by encouraging open, frequent communication with the admissions office. For example, representatives from the admissions office should meet with administrators and faculty members at least once per quarter to explain current and projected enrollment trends. Faculty and administrators can then use this information to plan for the future and improve areas that are lacking.
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