Arresting The Trend – Early Career Teacher Retention

Arresting The Trend – Early Career Teacher Retention

Monday 30th January 2023, 16.30-17.30

David Gumbrell, senior lecturer, Kingston University

In our 2022-23 seminar series we are focusing on the relationship between being a teacher and researcher. In our first event we have invited a former headteacher / current initial teacher educator to discuss how his own experience recruiting, training and supporting teachers has enabled him to frame research projects that are informed by real experience and which offer up distinctive insights with practical implications.

David’s research has focussed on the importance of early career teacher retention. He adopted a narrative enquiry approach which sought to amplify the voices of those who have gone beyond the notional barrier of the fifth year of teaching. His respondents spoke about the significant people and significant moments, both in the past and the present, that had influenced their careers. The data illustrated the importance of the emotional, relational, and contextual dimensions of teaching. Despite being minimised in official definitions of teaching (Teacher Standards/Early Career Framework) these dimensions had maximum impact on Early Career Teacher’s lived experiences. It appears that, as teacher educators and as mentors of ECTs, we could do more to help them build emotional resilience, broker professional relationships, and help them to find the right school for them. My data also showed how prospective reflection can act as a motivating force when considering a potential future. It is possible that we ask ECTs to look backwards more than we do forwards and that this is inadvertently having a negative effect on their retention. I will explore each of these themes more fully in my presentation which will hopefully lead into a professional dialogue on this most important of areas of study.

David Gumbrell is a senior lecturer at Kingston University and has published three books to support early career teacher retention, decision making and time management. He recently completed his Masters and is now starting an EdD, looking at the potential impact that the identification of role models can have on early career teachers. Part-time, he runs a business called The Resilience Project where David presents, coaches and writes about the mental health and wellbeing of teachers.