As school operators consider the best methods of reaching prospective teaching talent, it’s important to not only weigh where teachers look for jobs, but who they look to — who are the powerful influencers in their search and decision-making process?

The results of the Teach901 2017 Survey indicate that teachers remain most confident in job opportunities endorsed by people, whether it’s a friend or a charismatic school leader. The following are key takeaways regarding how teachers learned about their current teaching positions:

Teachers trust the endorsements of their friends.

When asked how they initially learned about their current teaching position, out of 1677 respondents, the majority, thirty-five percent, said “a friend.” The response ranks high among first year and relocating teachers who likely had a friend vouch for what it’s like to live and teach in Memphis. Therefore, school organizations may be able to leverage teachers’ social networks as part of their recruiting strategy by incentivizing social sharing of job posts and rewarding referrals.

An engaging principal / school leader is a powerful recruiting tool.

Twenty-two percent of teachers in our survey reported that a school leader’s pitch is how they landed at their current school. Consistent with the findings of previous years of the survey, school leadership matters. School leaders are an important factor in retention as well as why teachers are invested in a particular school, or how they hear about a position in the first place. A leader who can engage and inspire in a discussion on educational philosophy, mission, and school culture and can paint a clear picture of expectations, is increasingly valuable to recruiting efforts.

Teach for America attracts talent to Memphis.

Teach for America – Memphis is a major supplier of novice teaching talent to the Memphis pipeline and is responsible for the first job placements of corp members. Twelve percent of overall respondents credit Teach for America for their current positions. Importance increases among first year and relocating teachers to 31% and 33%, respectively. Local stakeholders should  seek opportunities to support local teacher preparation programs, build relationships, and seek out additional programs to bring to Memphis that can have a similar impact.

Teach901 is growing in influence.

Each year, more respondents credit Teach901 for connecting them to their current teaching positions either through the Teach901 Job Fair series or via the Teach901 Job Board:

four percent in 2015, eight percent in 2016, and 9 percent in 2017. Both the job fairs and job board function as a one-stop shop for educators who are trying to make sense of the possibly overwhelming number of options within the local education landscape.

No matter how they find their jobs, teachers value an opportunity to develop and improve their skills within their current roles.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the survey series where we cover the importance of professional development as a means of attracting and retaining teachers of high caliber.