Wellness of the employees as a concern has crossed the boundaries of the corporate workplaces to the educational institutes. A recent study conducted by Teaching Strategies echoes the impact of the pandemic on educator wellbeing and concerns over retaining educators in the field: almost half of early childhood educators surveyed reported struggling with mental health and burnout. Findings state that over 40% of respondents said staffing shortages affect these stress levels.
- Compensation and mental health remain the driving reasons for early childhood educators considering a career change. Of the 20% of early childhood educators who said they are considering making a career change, 43% said compensation is the driving reason and 40% gave mental health as their reason.
- Professional development is important for teacher satisfaction. 70% of early childhood educators who report access to professional development opportunities are statistically more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. Moreover, of educators planning to leave the profession, 65% are less likely to say they have access to professional development, compared to 77% of those planning to remain in the profession. Educators working in family childcare settings or Early Head Start are the least likely to report access to professional development.
- Early childhood educators prefer online, on-demand professional development. Nearly 60% of all educators surveyed said online would be one of their preferred methods of participating in professional development, and more than one-third of educators said this was the only way they want professional development. Just 18% said they only want live in-person professional development. This is true across all educators of all age groups.
Commenting on the findings, Teaching Strategies CEO John Olsen said, "The findings confirm what we have suspected: If we are to retain passionate educators, we must not only fairly compensate them for their critical work but we must make high-quality, flexible opportunities for professional growth more accessible. As the field looks to retain amazing educators, we can't return to business as usual. For many educators, professional development has been too inconvenient, irrelevant or inaccessible.”
He further added, “What we see in the data is an opportunity to intentionally create meaningful learning opportunities and career pathways that support educators and enable them to flourish. When we support educators where they are, we support children, families, and society at large."