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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

When teachers don't get no respect, schools don't get new teachers



Fewer young people want to be teachers, writes Jessica Grose in the New York Times. The new teacher pipeline is running dry.


She cites a working paper by Matthew Kraft of Brown and Melissa Arnold Lyon of the University at Albany which found many measures at a 50-year low. Stress is high. Prestige is low.

Perceptions of teacher prestige have fallen between 20 percent and 47 percent in the last decade . . . Interest in the teaching profession among high school seniors and college freshman has fallen 50 percent since the 1990s and 38 percent since 2010 . . . The number of new entrants into the profession has fallen by roughly one third over the last decade, and the proportion of college graduates that go into teaching is at a 50-year low. Teachers’ job satisfaction is also at the lowest level in five decades, with the percent of teachers who feel the stress of their job is worth it dropping from 81 percent to 42 percent in the last 15 years.

The decline started more than a decade ago, well before the pandemic, Kraft says.


Even when schools are able to hire new teachers, many have one foot out the door, writes Fordham's Meredith Coffey, who left the classroom in 2022. Teaching is seen as inflexible and not "family friendly," especially to young people who have friends in other professions working on hybrid or at-home schedules.


She met a 22-year-old, newly certified kindergarten teacher who was full of enthusiasm -- but also planning to leave teaching and "move on to something more flexible" when she has children of her own.


"Teacher turnover continues to escalate while enrollment in teacher-prep programs declines," she writes. Thirty-eight percent of teachers ages 25 to 34 plan to leave teaching, in contrast to 30 percent of their older colleagues. "Among teachers who planned to leave as of 2022, 26 percent cited a desire for greater workplace flexibility as a top reason motivating their career change."

Teachers who leave are "going into fields like ed tech, instructional design, IT services, consulting, and software development," jobs that don't have 20-minute lunch breaks.


Flexible work schedules could "attract new teachers and combat burnout and attrition," Coffey writes. For example, "schools could consider scheduling four days for concentrated core academic instruction, with one day for activities like tutoring, the arts, physical education, internships, or community service," Coffey writes. While students are on field trips or doing extracurriculars, teachers could have time "to plan, grade, call families, or meet remotely with colleagues." Or take the kids to the dentist.

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5 Comments


Guest
Sep 19, 2023

"She met a 22-year-old, newly certified kindergarten teacher who was full of enthusiasm -- but also planning to leave teaching and "move on to something more flexible" when she has children of her own. "


That is seriously the stupidest thing I've ever seen mentioned. Teaching is a predominantly female occupation in lower grades precisely BECAUSE it's a flexible job with good benefits.


All Coffey has established is that she's as dim as the kindergarten teacher.

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Guest
Sep 19, 2023
Replying to

Teaching in the K-6 grades will more female than is was decades ago because too many people have decided that any male who wants to work with small children is a pedo. This was pointed out in Richard Reeves book on the problems experienced by boys and men.

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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
Sep 19, 2023

My wife was a career teacher. A mentor teacher. After she retired, she was hired by SDSU to teach and guide their student teachers. We had two kids. She wanted to go half-time for one-two semesters after each birth. After the first birth, the TEACHER UNION blocked her proposal to the school district -- because it was not a union "negotiated benefit." She had another teacher who also wanted to work half-time, and it would have actually saved the district money. She DID go half-time for a year after the 2nd birth, and I think it's now a standard option in her school district.

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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
Sep 19, 2023

I was a career financial planner, with quite a few teachers who were clients. Three quit teaching because (for various reasons) they thought they'd be happier doing other work. I got all three to take a one you leave of absence rather than quit. All three came back to teaching. I should mention that in my CA, teaching pays VERY well. Today, teachers average $90,000+ a year for working 3/4 time compared to other jobs.

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Guest
Sep 19, 2023
Replying to

And the health insurance benefits are much better than most; both before and after retirement (per my teacher relatives). The same is true for pensions and employee contributions. I’m sure that’s not always true in every area, but I don’t think it’s rare. Also, the school-year schedule is very friendly for families with kids. In areas where I’ve lived, teachers also could usually put their kids into their school, or other school of their choice; even if they were out of area. They were also usually able to choose their kids’ teachers and, in MS and HS, their courses and schedules. (a perk envied and/or resented by other parents)

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