Did you know that the current unemployment rate for teachers is 2.7 percent? With a multitude of available opportunities across the job market, a shift has occurred. Job candidates in the education field are now in the powerful position of selecting their employer.
The natural question then arises: what should schools be doing to stand out and attract top teaching talent in such a competitive market? Sadly, there’s no cookie-cutter answer. Plenty of contributing factors exist. For example, your school’s unique purpose and employee benefits are key drivers in the job market. But today we’ll be looking at an aspect of hiring that many schools overlook. The physical spaces that educators will teach in.
We believe that schools should heavily consider designing spaces that remain consistent with their mission and facilitate the quickly evolving job of educating students in order to recruit and retain top talent. Ready to learn more about what constitutes the types of teaching environments that attract high quality talent? Keep reading!
Designing for Job Satisfaction
We suggest that schools look to design spaces that facilitate the dynamic job of teaching. Which sounds nice, but what does this actually look like? Again, there’s no cookie cutter answer, but there are some general best practices.
If your goal is to design a school that educators actually want to teach at, you’ll be off on the right foot. So, what type of things do they care about? “Cool” architecture is something that may come to mind, and it is a definite advantage. But “cool” can’t be the only consideration. Functional space is also a necessity. So where is the balance here? Instead of using the conventional “chalk-and-talk” classroom design, consider whether or not your curriculum allows for a combination of: more secluded spaces for focus, collaborative spaces that promote creativity and allow impromptu sharing, or dynamic spaces for hands-on learning. We understand this isn’t always feasible, but these types of dynamic spaces are very attractive and definitely cause your school to stand out.
A Good First Impression
The first experience a prospective employee – or anyone for that matter – has when walking in the door of your school holds a lot of weight. Ask yourself what sort of message your entryway is sending to people. Your entryway would ideally be designed with the goal of helping everyone understand your school’s philosophies and beliefs. Although this doesn’t necessarily have to be explicit. For example, if your school’s mission includes wellness commitments, you should take clear steps to allow for natural light and fresh air. These types of environments are a strong impression for everyone who walks through your doors and is an opportunity many schools overlook.
What Does Your Design Say About You?
If you’re still a little unsure of whether or not your school is attractive to quality talent, we leave you with this question: If a prospective job candidate asked your current employees about their working environment, what would they say?