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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Unhappy teachers

Teachers feel underappreciated and under attack, concludes a new paper by Brown and University of Albany researchers, reports Caitlynn Peetz in Education Week.

"Teachers’ job satisfaction is at its lowest level in 50 years, with 42 percent of educators saying the stress of their job is worth it, compared to 81 percent in the 1970s."

Fewer young people are interested in teaching, and the number of newly licensed teachers has dropped sharply since 2006. The public is less likely to see teaching as having "considerable prestige" than in the past.

Teaching was on the ropes in the 1970s and rebounded, Matthew Kraft, one of the authors, told Peetz. It started with raising teacher pay, which improved job satisfaction.

Reversing “the trend of top-down control over teachers” and creating meaningful career pathways, including professional development and peer observation opportunities, could help restore morale, Kraft and (Melissa Arnold) Lyon wrote in their paper, though they did not recommend specific approaches.
The country must also grapple with the fact that a rise in violence in schools, particularly shootings, undercuts the “basic sense of safety and security” needed to effectively teach and for students to learn, the paper concludes.

Only 26 percent of teachers say they'd recommend teaching to a friend or family member in a recent poll, reports EdChoice. Private- and charter-school teachers were much more positive about teaching. Only 21 percent of district-school teachers said they'd recommend the profession, while 50 percent said they would not.

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