professional learning

How to Keep Good Teachers: Improve Professional Learning

Whether the focus is on the increased pressure and demands that teachers face in the classroom or the impact of high turnover on student learning, the constant barrage of bad news is enough to make anyone think that our educational system is in crisis. However, even with these challenges, innovative strategies and developments in professional learning can help turn the tide.

Professional development opportunities are central to retaining teachers, enhancing job satisfaction, and giving them the tools to perform their duties more effectively. Let’s examine how embracing meaningful change opportunities through enhanced professional learning can help school districts keep good teachers.

The Challenge of Teacher Turnover

A recent survey by the National Education Association found that around 55% of educators are contemplating an early departure from their jobs, so there's little debate that something needs to be done to slow the flow of teachers leaving the profession. Furthermore, educators aren't just thinking about leaving the classroom; many have already packed their bags and left. According to data collected across eight states, teacher turnover reached an all-time high during the 2021-2022 school year.

When veteran teachers leave the classroom, it produces a ripple effect, disrupting the educational process and negatively impacting student learning and achievement. Schools in economically disadvantaged areas are often the hardest hit, exacerbating the academic equity gap. School districts incur a substantial final burden when teachers exit the classroom, as they must recruit and train new teachers to replace those who are no longer there.

Looking at these factors as a whole, it's clear that something must be done to encourage teachers to stay in the classroom, and professional learning is an essential component of this effort. These programs enable teachers to improve their skills, stay up to date with the latest educational practices, and feel supported in their roles. All of these can increase their job satisfaction and commitment to the profession.

Understanding Professional Learning

Understanding professional learning is vital in the context of teacher development and retention. It goes beyond the conventional concept of professional development. While traditional development often involves one-time training sessions or workshops that are more passive in nature, professional learning is a more dynamic, continuous process with a broader scope that focuses on sustained, collaborative, and reflective practices that are integrated into a teacher’s daily work.

Unlike traditional one-size-fits-all methods, professional learning is designed with the unique needs of each educator in mind and goes beyond the surface to address their specific needs. This approach means teachers can take advantage of learning communities, benefit from personalized coaching, and access resources that can help boost their professional growth. In this way, they can figure out what strategies really click. It also encourages an atmosphere of continuing growth that cultivates a continuous learning and growth environment for teachers, helping them stay current on what's happening in the field of education.

Professional Learning as a Retention Strategy

Professional learning has a significant role in boosting teacher satisfaction and retention. Diverging from traditional professional development, it's customized to meet the unique requirements of educators, which results in increased job satisfaction and effectiveness. This method includes collaborative and hands-on learning activities that are part of everyday teaching, tackling common causes of teacher attrition like insufficient support and poor professional development options.

Professional learning also nurtures a culture of ongoing growth, empowering teachers and instilling a sense of value and dedication in their roles. This improves their abilities and strengthens and enhances the educational setting, keeping pace with the changing needs of teaching.

Best Practices in Professional Learning

Incorporating best practices in professional learning is essential for addressing the common issues that educators face with traditional professional development. Self-paced, asynchronous learning is a significant improvement, addressing the issue of irrelevant, one-size-fits-all sessions. Educators can engage in learning at their own pace, making it highly relevant to their individual teaching situations. This flexibility is especially crucial for busy educators who need to balance teaching with ongoing learning.

Another key aspect is the shift toward competency- and activity-based learning. These methods focus on mastering specific skills and applying them in practical settings, offering teachers a more hands-on and relevant experience.

Technology is reshaping modern professional learning. Cloud-based learning hubs enable educators to access resources and collaborative tools anytime and anywhere, breaking down traditional barriers to professional development. This accessibility is further enhanced by mobile options, which provide the convenience of learning on the go. These tech-driven solutions make learning more flexible and encourage a more interactive and engaging professional development experience, aligning with the dynamic nature of the education sector.

Innovative Strategies in Professional Learning

Exploring diverse approaches is essential in modern professional learning, with blended learning and peer collaboration at the forefront. Blended learning is the combination of online digital media and traditional classroom methods, offering a more flexible and engaging educational experience.

Peer collaboration further enriches this by encouraging educators to share insights and learn from each other's experiences. Interactive and engaging learning models are increasingly important, actively involving educators in their professional development. This interactivity helps maintain interest and fosters deeper understanding.

Personalization and differentiation in professional learning are critical, as they cater to each educator's unique needs and learning styles. This tailored approach ensures that professional development is relevant and effective for everyone involved. Community building and collaborative learning are significant for creating a supportive learning environment. These aspects encourage knowledge-sharing and collective problem-solving, enhancing the overall experience.


Assessing the effectiveness of professional learning programs is vital for ensuring that they meet educators' needs and lead to positive outcomes in teaching practice. Ultimately, fostering a culture of continuous learning is paramount. This culture promotes ongoing professional growth and adaptability, which are essential in the ever-evolving field of education.

MobileMind’s micro courses offer bite-sized learning opportunities that take minutes to complete without leaving the classroom and offer better time management. Schedule a call with MobileMind or request a demo to help ease teacher workflow and retain top talent with improved professional learning opportunities!