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Old 05-09-2006, 09:51 PM   #1
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So you want to be a teacher....read this

National Teacher Day Spotlights Key Issues Facing Profession

NEA Addresses Top Five Teaching Trends and Outlines 'Portrait of American Teacher'

WASHINGTON -- The teaching profession has changed dramatically over the past 40 years. The majority of the nation's 3 million teachers have at least a master's degree and an average of 15 years of experience.i In addition, more than 75 percent of all teachers participate in professional development related to their grade or subject area.i As part of its annual National Teacher Day celebration, taking place this year on Tuesday, May 9, the National Education Association is releasing a list of the top five trends in the teaching profession and outlining the main characteristics of a 21st century schoolteacher.

"Today, teachers are more educated and experienced than ever before," said NEA President Reg Weaver. "It's extremely reassuring to know that public school students are being taught by the some of the most talented educators this nation has seen in more than 40 years. On National Teacher Day, NEA and its 2.8 million members are saluting teachers, America's heroes, for making public schools great for every child."

According to NEA's research and other sources, today's teachers are primarily white, female, married, religious, and on average are 43 years old.i More than half hold at least a master's degree.i Forty-five years ago, in 1961, only 23 percent held advanced degrees.i Additionally, 21st century teachers:

Spend an average of 50 hours per week on all teaching duties, including noncompensated school-related activities such as grading papers, bus duty and club advising.i
Teach an average of 21 pupils (elementary).i Secondary schoolteachers have an average class size of 28 pupils.i
Spend an average of $443 per year of their own money to meet the needs of their students.i Elementary teachers spend about $498 per year. Secondary teachers spend about $386.i Teachers of color spend about $470 per year, more than the $434 spent by white teachers.i
Make an average starting salary of $31,704 per year, not including supplemental pay for extra duties.ii
Enter the teaching profession to help shape the next generation. Nearly three out of four (73%) enter teaching because of their desire to work with young people.i And nearly seven out of 10 teachers (68%) cite it as the reason for remaining in the profession.i



NEA's research points to five main trends that have emerged over the past five years. These trends highlight the importance of teachers who are highly qualified and dedicated, as well as areas that need continued improvement such as cultural diversity, teacher recruitment and retention.

Trend #1: America's public schoolteachers are the most educated, most experienced ever.
They have many years of experience. Nearly half of all public schoolteachers (49%) have been in the classroom 15 years or longer; more than one-third (38%) have 20 or more years of classroom experience.i
The majority of teachers hold one or more advanced degrees. More than half (57%) hold at least a master's degree.i The percentage of teachers with a master's degree has more than doubled since 1961.i Less than half (43%) of public schoolteachers hold only a bachelor's degree-the smallest percentage in 40 years.i
Public school teachers are highly skilled in the subjects they teach. Nine out of 10 teachers (90%) say they spend no time teaching grades or subjects outside their licensed subject area.i


Trend #2: The work of teachers is being transformed.
Teachers are learning new skills and sharpening the ones they've already developed. More than 75 percent of all teachers participate in professional development related to their grade or subject area, using technology in the classroom and curriculum development.i
Seventy-seven percent of all teachers participate in system-sponsored professional development during the school year, up from 59 percent in 1971.i
Thirty-five percent-an all-time high-say they participated in system-sponsored professional development during the summer.i
Teachers are enriching their lessons with technology. For teachers with access to school computers, 73 percent say they use the computer regularly for instructional purposes, and 59 percent use the Web to enhance classroom lessons.i

Trend #3: The number of teachers leaving the profession is increasing.
Working conditions and low salaries are by far the primary reasons cited by individuals who do not plan to continue teaching until retirement. Twenty percent of teachers say unsatisfactory working conditions keep them from wanting to stay in the profession.i And 37 percent who do not plan to teach until retirement blame low pay for their decision to quit teaching.i The percentages are even greater for minority teachers (50%), for male teachers (43%), and for teachers under 30 (47%).i
Nationwide, more than 3.9 million teachers will be needed by 2014 because of teacher attrition, retirement and increased student enrollment.iii
Many new teachers leave after five years. Close to 50 percent of newcomers leave the profession during the first five years of teaching.iv
Teacher shortages create shortages in some subjects more than most. The greatest shortages of teachers are in bilingual and special education, mathematics, science, computer science, English as a second language and foreign languages.v The teaching profession also is experiencing a shortage of male teachers.i


Trend #4: The teaching corps in public schools does not reflect the diversity of the student population.
More teachers of color are needed. Nearly four out of every 10 students is a minority (40.5 %), yet the teaching profession is overwhelmingly white (90%).i Some 40 percent of all public schools have no minority teachers on staff.iii Additionally, fewer than half of teachers participate in professional development related to managing diversity in the classroom.i
The percentage of African-American teachers is the lowest since 1971 (6%).i Only five percent of the nation's teachers are Hispanics, Asians or are from other ethnic groups.i
Classroom success depends on cultural diversity. Some research suggests students of color perform better-academically, personally and socially-when taught by teachers from their own ethnic groups.vi


Trend #5: Male teachers are a dwindling breed.
A few good men. Just 24.9 percent of the nation's 3 million teachers are men.ii
Slow extinction of the male teacher. The percentage of male elementary teachers (9%) and male secondary teachers (35%) has fallen gradually since 1961 and now is at the lowest level in four decades.i

More money, more male teachers. States with higher teacher salaries tend to have the most male teachers. Michigan ranks first in the percentage of male teachers (37%), and ranks in the top five nationally in teacher pay. Mississippi ranks 50th in the percentage of male teachers (18%), and ranks 49th in teacher pay.ii
In a recent survey, NEA member-teachers cited "working to increase funding for public schools" as the top priority for their state and local association. Parental and family involvement, building community support for teachers, and increasing funding for up-to-date textbooks, technology and classrooms are also listed by member-teachers as very important to the quality of public education. More than half of all elementary, middle and secondary school teachers belong to a union-mainly the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and/or NEA.

"Teachers touch all of our lives," said Weaver. "But we must face the fact that although our current teachers are the most educated and most experienced ever, there are still too many teachers leaving the profession too early, not enough people becoming teachers and not enough diversity in the profession. It is more important than ever to focus our efforts on retaining teachers by recruiting more people-especially males and minorities, offering more professional development opportunities and improving working conditions and salaries."

About National Teacher Day
NEA celebrates National Teacher Day each year on Tuesday of the first full week of May. The day celebrates the outstanding work and lifelong dedication of teachers nationwide. This year's theme is Great Teachers Make Great Public Schools. The theme emphasizes the important role teachers play in making sure every child receives a quality public education. Additionally, the theme celebrates teachers and underscores their importance in making great public schools a reality. Learn more about the day and ways to celebrate in the National Teacher Day section of our Web site.

i Status of the American Public School Teacher, 2003, National Education Association.
ii Rankings & Estimates, 2004-2005, National Education Association.
iii Condition of Education, 2003, U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
iv Darling-Hammond & Schlan, 1996.
v American Association for Employment in Education, 1998.
vi Assessment of Diversity in America's Teaching Force-A Call to Action, 2004, The National Collaborative on Diversity in the Teaching Force.
vii NEA Member Survey, 2004; NEA Focus Groups, 2004.


# # #

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 2.8 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:12 PM   #2
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I have all the repsect in world for teachers and only wish they were respected by the gov't!!
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Old 05-09-2006, 10:18 PM   #3
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I've thought of this question, and wonder if part of the difficulty in the teaching profession is the fact that it hasn't adjusted to the changing marketplace.

Fifty years ago, it was common that you'd study for a profession and work in that profession until you'd retire. But nowadays, with so many options and even many college graduates taking on unexpected careers that are quite divergent from what their major was, if someone really wanted to become a teacher as a career change, I'm not sure how people could do that, short of spending a lot of time and money back in school. That's a sacrifice that most people can neither afford nor want to take.

But, of course, you don't want unqualified people teaching students. So is there such a thing as a "middle ground" that allows for more flexibility? I'm not sure, but I do think that's part of the problem.

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Old 05-10-2006, 12:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
if someone really wanted to become a teacher as a career change, I'm not sure how people could do that, short of spending a lot of time and money back in school. That's a sacrifice that most people can neither afford nor want to take.

But, of course, you don't want unqualified people teaching students. So is there such a thing as a "middle ground" that allows for more flexibility? I'm not sure, but I do think that's part of the problem.
I'd like to be a lawyer, but I don't want to spend the time and money to back to school to get a law degree. Is there any "flexibility" there? Would you want a mid-career change surgeon, who doesn't have a medical degree, but got into the profession on a "flexible" program?

I think the teaching profession is one of the few professions that Joe Blow thinks he can do without the education the real teachers have.
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Old 05-10-2006, 01:23 PM   #5
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Yeah, but martha, those things PAY off in the long run much more than teaching. I spent a couple of years doing research and now I'm going back to study law in September, and although that will be an investment of both time and money, the pay off at the end is considerably greater than anything in teaching. So I think that for people who are considering a career change, or for students who ended up doing a grad degree after college and are now ready for a professional program, what incentive is there to go back into teaching when that means losing their salary, and not really benefitting as much as they could from electing to do a more lucrative program? Now I know teaching is a calling, but let's get real, people also consider their job stability and longterm earning potential when making such huge decisions and changes in their lives. And, IMO, not that many would run to teach as opposed to one of the many other professional degrees they could do instead.
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Old 05-10-2006, 03:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
So I think that for people who are considering a career change, or for students who ended up doing a grad degree after college and are now ready for a professional program, what incentive is there to go back into teaching when that means losing their salary, and not really benefitting as much as they could from electing to do a more lucrative program?
I agree. I was addressing melon's comment about the barriers to people from other careers who decide they want to teach but have to go through difficult and expensive programs.
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Old 05-10-2006, 04:51 PM   #7
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Half of new teachers quit within 5 years: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Jessica Jentis fit the profile of a typical American teacher: She was white, held a masters degree and quit two and a half years after starting her career.


According to a new study from teachers' union the National Education Association, half of new U.S. teachers are likely to quit within the first five years because of poor working conditions and low salaries.

Jentis, now a stay-at-home mother of three, says that she couldn't make enough money teaching in Manhattan to pay for her student loans and that dealing with school bureaucracy was too difficult.

"The kids were wonderful to be with, but the stress of everything that went with it and the low pay did not make it hard to leave," she said. "It's sad because you see a lot of the teachers that are young and gung-ho are ready to leave."
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
I'd like to be a lawyer, but I don't want to spend the time and money to back to school to get a law degree. Is there any "flexibility" there? Would you want a mid-career change surgeon, who doesn't have a medical degree, but got into the profession on a "flexible" program?

I think the teaching profession is one of the few professions that Joe Blow thinks he can do without the education the real teachers have.
anitram made my point aptly, so I'm not going to repeat myself here.

I don't mean disrespect to teachers out there, but it's neither rocket science nor brain surgery. And, likewise, what I do for a living isn't rocket science or brain surgery, and Joe Blow off the street can't do it either. But guess what? If someone with another degree wanted to do a career change, they could take a few college courses and, with enough practice, start out at the bottom. Likewise, I do not believe it to be infeasible for such a thing to exist to allow the right people to enter education as a career change. And, of course, Joe Blow and the other grossly unqualified people would probably not qualify for such a program, and would need to start at the absolute bottom of the education scale.

Lawyers and doctors can get away with the education structure they have, because the market is there for them. As for teaching, you're never going to get six-figure incomes working off of tax dollars. Our current funding system will never allow it, and most local school districts are cash-strapped, because the people who live in these districts are cash-strapped themselves.

I think there does need to be some flexibility somewhere, without teachers feeling like they're being insulted in the process. Obviously, our current system is not working.

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Old 05-11-2006, 06:49 AM   #9
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Here in Massachusetts the theory was with Education reform that the teachers were not professionals. That what we needed was to bring people in from the business world because clearly they would be able to get the results because something was wrong. They offered bonus checks to people who came out of the business world to work with kids. Guess what?
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Here in Massachusetts the theory was with Education reform that the teachers were not professionals. That what we needed was to bring people in from the business world because clearly they would be able to get the results because something was wrong. They offered bonus checks to people who came out of the business world to work with kids. Guess what?
I'm sure it didn't work, because education is, more infamously, synonymous with bureaucracy. Even if you had the financial incentive, a lot of people would want to pass on those kinds of headaches.

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Old 05-11-2006, 10:01 AM   #11
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I'm studying to be a teacher, as a back up and when i have kids i can teach then!!

I love PR thats my first choice

but teachers are saints! my mum was one!
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
And, of course, Joe Blow and the other grossly unqualified people would probably not qualify for such a program, and would need to start at the absolute bottom of the education scale.
What the hell is the "bottom of the education scale" Are you talking pay? Because that means you're comfortable with these people teaching. Which is what folks like you are always whining about: crappy teachers. Are you talking training? What do you mean?


Quote:
Originally posted by melon
As for teaching, you're never going to get six-figure incomes working off of tax dollars. Our current funding system will never allow it, and most local school districts are cash-strapped, because the people who live in these districts are cash-strapped themselves.
Nobody but nobody goes into teaching for the money. EVER.

Quote:
Originally posted by melon
I think there does need to be some flexibility somewhere, without teachers feeling like they're being insulted in the process. Obviously, our current system is not working.
As long as people think teaching is easy, like you seem to think, and can be done with a minimum of training, teachers will be insulted by this kind of thinking. Once again, if you had a choice, would you like a surgeon who went through a "flexible" program to cut you open? Or would you rather have a fully trained surgeon?
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:36 PM   #13
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Thanks for this info. I'm going back to school to get my teaching certificate and this makes an interesting read.

Teaching is one of the most difficult, underpaid and underappreciated professions out there. I remember a couple of years back there was a commercial on TV with a young girl and her father--the girl told him she wanted to be a teacher, and he told her she should become a doctor, presumably because doctors make more money. She told him no, and then said something like "There wouldn't be any doctors without teachers."

So true. Too bad the pay scale doesn't reflect that.
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Old 05-11-2006, 10:51 PM   #14
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I've got several frineds at uni who want to be a teacher. But we are in England
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Old 05-12-2006, 12:56 AM   #15
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My dad's a secondary school teacher, been one for 40 years. I have all the respect in the world for teachers, but I'd never want to be one cos of what I saw at school with how the teachers were treated, by some of the kids, the hierarchy of the school itself and the government.
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