School & District Management

Teachers: I Trust My Students, I Trust My Principal, But Trust Me, You Don’t Want My Job

By Sarah D. Sparks — December 06, 2018 1 min read
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America’s teachers remain committed to their students, but take an increasingly dim view of the future of the profession, according to the 2018 Schooling in America survey.

The school choice advocacy group EdChoice and Braun Research, Inc. surveyed a representative sample more than 530 public school parents and more than 1,800 members of the general public. But this year the groups also conducted online interviews with 777 public school teachers.

Only a little more than 1 in 4 teachers said they would recommend their profession as a career for a friend or colleague. By contrast, 42 percent of teachers said they would actively try to convince the friend not to become a teacher. To put that in context, active-duty military personnel are more likely to recommend their jobs to others than teachers are.

The findings, which were mirrored among both newer and more experienced teachers in many parts of the country, “suggest the 2018 protests, walkouts, and general angst may reflect deeper issues and challenges within the profession—perhaps beyond teacher pay and school funding—that frustrate a large swath of public school educators across the country,” the report noted.

Those responses echo many other recent surveys. In the PDK-Gallup education survey earlier this year, in which more than 60 percent of Americans said they trusted their children’s teachers and supported paying them more, but a majority also said they wouldn’t encourage their own children to become teachers, considering the profession “undervalued and underpaid.”

While the EdChoice survey did not dig into many potential reasons for the discontent, it did find crumbling trust between teachers and other education stakeholders. Some of these findings seem a bit counterintuitive—teachers say they trust their principals more than their union leadership!—but it may also be that they trust the people the work more closely with over those that seem further removed, like state and federal bureaucracy.

That discontent likely contributes to ongoing struggles in many districts to get and keep educators. While districts are experimenting with everything from on-site childcare to housing support, results like these suggest rebuilding trust between teachers and others in the education community will be a key part of the solution.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Inside School Research blog.