The Spring 21 edition of Impact the journal of the Chartered College of Teaching is well worth reading with its focus on teacher recruitment, retention and progression. These wonderful summaries of in depth research support school leaders in making informed and evidence based decisions at a time when resources are severely limited. Headteachers, senior leaders and mid-career teachers especially may find the article ‘Continuous professional development and career progression in mid-career teachers of particular interest. If you want to know the nuggets keep reading.
Firstly a mid-career teacher is hard to define, there is no linear development for teachers (Day 2006) in terms of years served so thinking of teachers in terms of moving through stages may be more helpful. Suggested stages are exploration (beginnings),stabilisation (commitment, integration and autonomy),experimentation (new challenges and responsibilities) and serenity (a professional plateau). According to the research a mid-career teacher is more likely to have an increased tension between work and personal life, an increased interest in experimentation in their practice, more responsibility in school, the management of changes in professional roles and identity. What is of key importance in terms of retaining staff and motivating them is knowing that the levels of motivation and commitment of mid-career teachers may depend on how well they cope with the competing demands of their career phase and this can be addressed through CPD which is specialised and meets their needs. Examples of CPD which emerge from the research findings include a need for high quality personalised, subject specific and non leadership CPD, autonomy to choose relevant CPD and continued mentoring and coaching. These findings are supported by TALIS data from the OECD. There has never been a better time for accessing a wealth of wide ranging online CPD for teachers which enables them to combine their work and professional lives, engaging mid-career teachers in this way can increase motivation, prevent stagnation and show how our stable teachers are highly valued for their expertise and insight.