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Why are our Best and Brightest Students Not Choosing to Become Educators?

School districts across the nation are continuing to report a growing shortage of teachers as teachers are jumping ship in record numbers.

According to a national survey of college freshman conducted in 2016, “the number of students who say they will major in education has reached its lowest point in 45 years.”

Why are our Best and Brightest Students Not Choosing to Become Educators?

Source: Cooperative Institutional Research Program, Higher Education Research Institute, U. of California at Los Angeles

I was recently interviewed by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (video below) about why our best and brightest students are not choosing to become educators. Like many of my fellow educators, I was inspired by past teachers, coaches, and family members to enter the field and pass on my knowledge to the next generation. Being an educator was considered a worthwhile and important profession—without question.

It’s hard to pinpoint why students haven’t been pursuing careers as teachers over the past decade, but it’s one that needs to be explored. In recent years, some of the events that have occurred have shed a negative light on education, and it’s impacted how students view the profession. It’s important that we continue to show—not just tell—our best and brightest students that education is a viable profession and one that should be considered.

Another reason why young students might not be choosing education as a career is the allure of the new types of jobs and careers that are becoming available every single year. As technology continues to develop, different types of jobs are being created. While these jobs are important, it’s important for us, as educators, to inspire these students to get into education and support the learning process for future generations.

How can schools engage teachers?

Not only is it important to encourage more young adults to consider a career in education, it’s also important to build systems that will support and retain those teachers over time.

Traditional approaches to developing teachers—workshops, seminars, and training sessions—can inform and motivate, but they aren’t enough to sustain long-term growth.

By contrast, continuous growth and engagement require a professional growth plan: a systematic approach that’s both personal and rooted in documented successes across the nation.

Why are our Best and Brightest Students Not Choosing to Become Educators?

Like building a house without a blueprint, asking for improvements without a growth plan is asking for trouble. At best, it’s a waste of everyone’s time. It certainly won’t stop the “bleeding” of talent from schools.

To drive teacher success and satisfaction, schools must create a personal growth plan that includes these 6 steps:

  1. Identify areas of need.
  2. Reflect on those areas.
  3. Plan for improvement.
  4. Identify growth resources.
  5. Set measurable goals and timelines.
  6. Re-evaluate.

These 6 steps will create a continuous feedback loop that will provide teachers with the feedback they need to improve and become better educators. Learn more about how to grow, engage and retain teachers for long-term growth by filling out the form below to download our infographic:

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Download our “How to Grow, Engage & Retain Teachers” white paper to learn about the other characteristics and action steps of an effective teacher growth strategy. Download the Engage Teachers Whitepaper Now!