Career changers may be one of the nation’s best hopes to fill an anticipated 1.5 million teaching vacancies over the next decade, according to a new national survey released today by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and funded by MetLife Foundation. The survey, Teaching as a Second Career, finds that 42 percent of college-educated Americans aged 24 to 60 would consider becoming a teacher.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that 64% of the college educated professionls surveyed would not take the job for under $50,000 per year. Well, so much for attracting career changers. Not many schools pay that much for new teachers – except maybe Alaska!
The other bad news is this: Special education or children with behavior problems would not be the first choice of career changers. Only 15% would want those jobs. Most of these career changers have their hopes set on educating the hearts and minds of eager learners – but the reality of classroom management may make them change jobs again well before the year is out.
The PROBLEM with a survey like this – as I see it – is that the surveyors and the surveyees assume that anyone can teach or that a college degree makes people better qualified to fill teacher vacancy spots. Both assumptions are wrong.
Both assumptions are also degrading to the professional teacher who invested at least 4 years of their life in a teacher education program and countless hours in professional development activities or pursuing master’s or doctorate degree’s in education. Filling teaching positions with warm bodies, no matter how smart these people may think they are, is not the right solution to this countries’ educational needs.
I wonder how the media would react to this headline: “Survey Finds That Teachers are Seeking Second Careers As Doctors, Lawyers, and CEO’s of Global Companies”. Would people be defensive about that?