But the real reason I think Head Start and Early Head Start preschool teachers stay involved in research is this: Preschool teachers want a voice. They want to be heard. They have stated to me time and again at nearly all of the centers that they feel like they aren’t listened to. That changes aren’t made to better meet their needs. They feel so disparaged by this that some of them have a “why try” attitude towards asking for change.
In fact, some of the preschool teachers outright asked me “Will any changes come from this research? Because if not, I don’t want to waste my time.”
To which I aptly responded saying “I can’t promise that changes will be made. I’m a researcher and don’t have the power to institute change. However, you are taking 10 minutes out of your life to fill out the questionnaire. I am taking an entire school year to create, collect, analyze, and distribute data on multiple research projects related to Teacher Retention. So I really hope that they institute changes based off of the research.” (of course also adding in there that Senior Management was who asked for and permitted me to complete the study, so I can only assume that they would like to make the needed changes).
Preschool teachers are busy. They don’t want to waste their time. However, they do want to be listened to. They do want their jobs to be manageable. And they have thoughts about how the company can be made stronger; about how the company can be more efficient; about how the company can achieve greater outcomes for the Head Start and Early Head Start preschoolers. By listening to their thoughts and suggestions, the company not only can retain qualified teachers, which has its own benefits, but the company can also make a stronger, more united, and more successful organization by meeting the needs of its employees.