Would you encourage a young person to teach? Most would not, poll says

Not even one in five Americans —just 18%, in fact—say they would recommend students become educators.

Administrators grappling with teacher shortages may not like this news: Few Americans would recommend a K-12 teaching career to a young person.

Citing low pay, a lack of resources and a stressful work environment, not even one in five Americans —just 18%, in fact—said they were likely to advise a student to become an educator, according to a poll just released by NORC at the University of Chicago, a think tank. Nearly half of the respondents said they were “not at all likely” to recommend teaching for a litany of reasons, also including threats to physical safety and lack of respect for the profession.

There are an estimated 300,000 open teaching positions in U.S. schools, according to media reports. “This poll echoes the common challenges school districts have had in hiring and retaining teachers for decades,” said Jenny Seelig, a research scientist at NORC at the University of Chicago. “Concerns about teachers’ physical safety at work and factors related to the pandemic echo challenges for work environments beyond teaching.”

White and wealthier Americans were less likely than Americans of color to say they would suggest teaching as a career path. Here are the top 10 “major barriers” the survey’s respondents said are standing in the way of a teaching career:

  1. The pay is too low
  2. Schools do not have enough resources to meet student needs
  3. The workload is too high
  4. The stress is too high from dealing with students
  5. The stress is too high from dealing with parents
  6. Teachers are not physically safe at school
  7. The stress is too high from dealing with school administration
  8. Factors related to the pandemic
  9. Teaching is not a respected career
  10. They had a negative school experience as a student

More than 1,000 Americans in all 50 states responded to the survey, NORC says.

Elevating teaching careers

Job search giants ZipRecruiter and Indeed are stepping in to help the Biden administration attempt to tackle the nation’s teacher shortage, the White House announced Wednesday.

More from DA: Ranking all 50 states on highest teacher pay shows the pinch of inflation

ZipRecruiter is launching an online K-12 job portal designed to showcase openings for teachers, nurses, guidance counselors, social workers, mental health counselors, librarians, and other roles. ZipRecruiter is also offering to post open positions for free. Indeed will organize virtual hiring fairs for teachers, administrators, counselors, and other staff. Participating organizations will get access to the company’s free suite of tools to manage the hiring process, from postings to interviews to job offers.

The White House also announced Wednesday that The Pathways Alliance, a coalition of public and private organizations working to diversify the educator pipeline, is developing guidelines to help states and districts establish high-quality teacher apprenticeship programs.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

Most Popular