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Teacher engagement and the pursuit of happiness (Part 4)

Ash Pugh, Director of Operations at Teach Away

In the final installment of our four-part series, we look at the third part of the recruitment, onboarding and retention cycle: retention.

Paving the road to retention

According to Dr. Jurewicz’s research, 63% of teachers surveyed intended to stay in their current roles beyond two years. Conversely, only 43% of teachers intended to stay after year three.

This highlights the challenge that international schools face on a regular basis when it comes to sustaining staff levels. Even when teachers are relatively happy, the lure of travel (among many other potential factors) can draw them away.

So, what can you do to entice teachers to stick around longer and maintain the strong foundation of faculty that you’ve worked so hard to build at your school?

To help answer that question, we asked our candidates what they value most in their jobs:

Top factors for on-the-job happiness

Teach Away, International Education Recruitment Report 2017-2018

Source: Teach Away, International Education Recruitment Report 2017-2018. Download the complete report at

1. Make opportunities for growth at your school.

By training teachers and investing in their career development, you can make them feel valued by your school.

Beyond training, it’s vital to ensure your new hires know that there’s room to grow professionally through opportunities to lead within their department or subject area.

It also stands to reason that when your teachers feel they’re able to do their jobs more effectively, they become more confident and secure in their roles and are less likely to look elsewhere.

2. Involve teachers in the hiring process

You depend on your teachers for input on other vital school matters. So why not involve them in the hiring of new employees?

Think of it – they’re going to be working alongside any new hires and will be just as invested in finding the right teachers as you are. Their familiarity with your school culture and values also gives them unmatched insight into the candidates who could be a great fit for your school community.

And now that we understand why recruitment needs to be an ongoing process, this can also be a great way to relieve yourself of some of the demands of recruitment.

More than that, though – you’re keeping your current teachers engaged and allowing them to develop a new skill set, to grow professionally by encouraging them to stay invested in your school’s future success. In short, you’re making them want to stay around. Professional growth for your teachers leads to retention for your school.

3. Let them be responsible for new teacher onboarding

Nobody knows the challenges of relocating abroad better than those who have already done it. Empower your existing staff to take the lead on passing along their experiences and preparing incoming staff for their new environment.

Again, you’ll see dual benefits as your new hires are supported with a robust onboarding process and existing teachers are able to take on leadership roles.


So there you have it – by embracing these actionable teacher recruitment, onboarding and retention strategies, your school will be well on its way to attracting and retaining the best international teachers, even in an increasingly competitive hiring landscape

Do you know what really matters to your teaching candidates?

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of InterED, the bi-annual newsletter of the Association for the Advancement of International Education (AAIE).