Teaching at every level is vital to our communities. People are drawn to the profession because they know they can make a difference in their students’ lives. Most teachers are clear-eyed about the ups and downs of the job — it’s never been stress-free. Yet, as masterfully as most teachers handle it, stress is starting to drive them away.
More than half of teachers surveyed recently by the National Education Association (NEA) said they’re considering leaving the profession earlier than expected. Though the contributing factors vary, from feelings of futility and safety concerns to controversies about curriculum, the effects are cumulative. While most teachers would love to see less bureaucracy and greater autonomy, there are other things districts can do to increase competitive hiring and lower costly departures. And that’s important, because replacing a single teacher costs schools an average of $21k, according to Hanover Research. And anticipated staffing shortfalls in the years ahead are already exceeding projections. Bottom line: it’s so much better to retain teachers than replace them.
One solution: updating the environments they teach in. This is more than an investment in teacher satisfaction. Adaptable desks, supportive seating, and other multipurpose solutions and tools are tangible commitment to attract and retain talented educators. HON is making it priority to design products that energize and inspire amenities-drivenenvironments—school included.
“Teaching is among the most rewarding, and challenging, occupations we serve,” notes Misael Munoz, director of public sector sales at HON. “Designing solutions that serve their complex needs in the classroom, and the additional spaces where they collaborate, is part of our commitment to the future of education.”
Featured Products: SmartLink® and Class-ifi™
1. Innovative Desks with Supportive Seating
With a classroom full of students buzzing about, or several classes in middle and high school, teachers need efficient and comfortable spaces to manage the flurry of assignments and activities.
Start smart with a HON SmartLink Teacher Station. This teacher desk has a rounded end that is ideal for one-on-one discussions with students, conferences with parents, and collaboration with colleagues. Need more space? Double your storage with a rectangle top and twice the number of drawers to keep things clear and clutter-free. Both come in an array of colors and finishes, and offer the opportunity to customize the desk with casters to make moving it even easier.
When it comes to choosing the right chair, it gets more personal. HON’s highly adjustable and infinitely customizable Ignition® 2.0 task chair really is the perfect ergonomic fit for every body and budget. How much do people love it? The New York Times actually published an article titled, “Why We Love the HON Ignition 2.0 Office Chair,” in 2023. We know your teachers will be enamored as well.
Featured Products: Build™ and Class-ifi™
2. Versatile Storage with Maximum Flexibility
The dynamic nature of work, regardless of industry or occupation, is evolving into more flexible environments. It’s essential to help students become adaptive to what’s ahead.
But the past two years have required another kind of flexibility, reinforcing the power of educators to inspire students through individual interactions, something tangibly lost amid remote instruction. According to a survey of K–12 educators by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 60% of virtual learning teachers indicated students had more difficulty understanding lessons than a typical school year, and 85% of in-person teachers believed live instruction helped students better grasp material.
Direct engagement doesn’t just improve test scores, as measured in a study from School Psych Review. It’s among the most rewarding parts of teaching, too, and the reason many educators remain committed to the profession, despite their reservations.
Support them with multi-functional spaces that encourage interaction, from desks and tables that move to storage that can be easily reconfigured to meet new needs over time. HON’s Class-ifi™ mobile storage is designed for today and tomorrow. Available in various sizes and styles, the durable laminated interiors and sturdy steel exteriors combine to create a storage system as individual as every educator’s teaching style.
Featured Products: West Hill™
3. Dedicated Spaces to Relax and Reflect
According to a nationwide survey by the EdWeek Research Center, 91% of teachers say they experience job-related stress sometimes, frequently, or always.
That realization is driving concerns about teacher shortages in districts across the country. Add the number of teachers who admit increased feelings of burnout and its consequences, and schools have a noteworthy issue on their hands. Doris Santoro, professor of education at Bowdoin College in Maine, describes it as a “teacher turnover cliff.” How can schools address this stress and the need to recharge?
Energizing the concept of the teachers lounge in a fresh way is one approach, providing spaces for new teachers to meet those with years of experience, and for senior educators to mentor colleagues new to the profession. Create a casual café feel with HON’s Flock® collection of colorful, plush seating matched with sleek Birk™ tables. Encourage organic collaboration and watch everyone benefit from the boost in enthusiasm and shared sense of purpose.
But don’t overlook the need for quiet contemplation. Dedicated wellness rooms are an emerging trend among school districts embracing the need for self-care among their staff. Educators often internalize the concerns of their students, sometimes described as “compassion fatigue.” Wellness rooms are the counterpoint to the traditional teachers lounge, a place for a different kind of conversation and reflection. HON’s West Hill™ collection provides a more structured seating selection. When paired with Scramble™ contemporary side and center tables, they provide a more intimate environment for sharing with colleagues.