In this fast paced world, teachers quit international schools for a hundred and one reasons. The departure of a teacher from a school is part of how human resource in an organization function. Indeed, it is a very personal decision too.
People come; people go. However, if there is a significant number of teachers leaving a school, the resultant impact is potentially destructive.
A study by Glenn Odland and Mary Ruzicka (2009) has deemed that a moderate turnover in a school is healthy. But, the recent statistics shows that teacher turnover percentages are in a pessimistic range. A high turnover of school teachers is not what we are after for. What are the reasons for this trend?
Reason 1: Causal factors related to administrative leadership and why teachers quit international schools
The central ideas of statement categorized to administrative leadership are:
- Communication between senior management and faculty
- Support from principal and senior management
- Teacher involvement in decision-making
Support from the administrative level of the school and the involvement of the teachers in decision-making greatly affect the turnover of teachers.
With an autocratic system being practiced in the school, together with the culture which lacks appreciation, administrative leadership is a clear indicator why teachers quit their job.
Reason 2: Compensation package
The compensation package differs from one school to another. In effect, the school which provides a low compensation package to the teachers induces a large turnover of teachers.
Some teachers complain that the salary scheme they were on was insufficient for them to cover the living cost.
Reason 3: Personal circumstances why teachers quit international schools
Personal circumstances and teacher mobility are often correlated factors when teachers quit international schools. Similarly, personal factors are influential enough to contribute to why teachers quit international schools.
These factors are from individual preferences, but the most common ones include the following: the desire to explore new cultures and countries; boredom and exhaustion; and, family matters.
Reason 4: Issues stemming from private ownership
International schools are often highly-independent profit-based organizations. Some studies suggested that the leading cause of teacher turnover in international schools is governance issue in the school.
The dictatorial policies by the owner of the school, like micro-managing the school with poor resources and humongous profit, have caused great dissatisfaction among teachers. Hence, this has become the reason of departure of the teachers.
Reason 5: Misrepresentation during recruitment
This factor involves the perceptions of teachers on how the management treated them during the recruitment phase. For example, teachers revealed discrepancies between “what they were told in interview” and “the real-life situation”.
In addition, the school did not fulfill the promises and the offerings written in the contracts. Therefore, teachers feel a huge deal of misrepresentation in the school’s situation, and this has caused them to leave.
What should international schools do?
Despite the factor of personal circumstances, the administrative level personnel is the one who bears the most crucial role in combating the issue.
They should provide necessary support to teachers. Other than that, they should also build more bridges and destroy walls between the administrative level and the teachers.
By doing so, opportunities involving decision-making should come with adequate and effective communication.
Furthermore, the school must give an accurate representation of EVERYTHING in the process of recruiting teachers. This is to minimize conflict and misunderstanding between the school and the newly-recruited teachers.
Moreover, the study by Odland and Ruzicka (2009) has also suggested that the school can carry out interviews with all teachers who are resigning. Such information and data from these teachers are valuable to address the serious problem of why teachers quit school.
With respect to the salary, compensation must be reasonable in accordance with a teacher’s home country and the living cost in the host country.
The financial statements and budgetary decision-making procedures of a school should be transparent and accountable to build the trust and confidence among teachers.
In effect, teachers who have clear comprehension on important school matters will have less doubt and more trust to the school.
Perhaps, a supportive, democratic, trustworthy and transparent school administrative leader will greatly help in reducing teacher turnover rate. They must share responsibilities and encourage involvement in decision-making, without neglecting the provision of reasonable compensation to the teachers.
Odland, G., & Ruzicka, M. (2009). An investigation into teacher turnover in international schools. Journal of Research in International Education, 8(1), 5-29.