Typical U.S. teacher: Female, well educated, underpaid and nearing retirement

Here is a concise graphic identifying the country’s typical teacher. Pay attention to the retirement data as that’s something Georgia will have to reckon with in a few years.

At the same time Georgia is seeing a rise in teachers retiring, the state is seeing fewer college students enrolling in teaching training programs.

During the 2007-08 school year, 12,436 students received teaching certificates for the first time, according to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. Two years later, the total fell to 8,520, and it has remained about the same since. A federal headcount found during the 2008-09 school year, more than 7,200 people completed Georgia teacher-preparation programs, three years later, it fell to 6,405.

With that background, here is the chart on the typical U.S. teacher.

America's Typical Teacher

Reader Comments 0

42 comments
Milo
Milo

Going to Teacher School does NOT make one well educated. 

Bryan Preston
Bryan Preston

I'm a local school board member. My wife retired this year after 31 yrs in the classrooms of Clarke & Coffee Counties (plus a full year of sick leave...so 32 in TRS years)....she's one of hundreds, probably thousands across our state, in this generation of teachers that "stepped out" at 21 yrs and have been negatively impacted by state pay freezes since 2007...seeing dedicated, effective teachers being treated this way sure makes it difficult to recruit new teachers, especially down south here. I say it all the time, there's a lot of things we don't need in order to have school but one thing we must have is Teachers!

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Regarding shortage of math teachers.....

I'm sure there are plenty of retired engineers and other math based professionals who are certainly qualified and would love teaching math on a part time basis.  It's just that the Schools of Education and other educrats throw up roadblocks at every opportunity.

Plus, retired professionals wouldn't put up with the petty BS from both the administrators and students.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

We've discussed the "teachers are underpaid" subject many times on this blog.  In order to compare teachers salaries to other professional occupations, you must first extrapolate the teachers 190 day workday schedule to the 230 days or so that other professions work.  Once you do that, we find the salaries are comparable.

Salaries are also dependent upon the location of the individual.  In rural Georgia, teachers are among the highest paid professions in the county.  In metro areas, where jobs are more plentiful, teacher salary might not be as attractive.

Finally, teacher salary structure that pays math and science teachers the same as other disciplines is insane - hence the struggle to find STEM teachers.  Math and science grads have other options besides teaching.  Early Childhood and History majors, not so much.  My company has different salary structures for accountants, engineers, IT, and attorneys - all based on MARKET STUDIES.  

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@Lee_CPA2 OK...I'll bite.  So if a professional works 230 days at 8 hours per day, he/she puts in 1840 hours.  


A teacher works 190 at 8 hours per day, plus 6 parent events at 4 hours each, plus 6 after-school fund-raisers at 4 hours each, plus 5 professional learning days in the summer, and if we estimate VERY conservatively that a teacher spends one additional hour grading, planning, etc.  at home or after contract time for the 190 contract days, he/she works 1798 hours.  


The difference is about 5 days.  You need to re-think your comparison. 


Consider that teachers get about 20 minutes, on a good day, for lunch.  Consider that while most of us know HOW to read, few of us really know how to TEACH someone else to read. Consider how important you think education really is before you suggest that we are not under-paid.



Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

@elementary-pal @Lee_CPA2

The fallacy in your argument is that you are assuming other salaried professionals only work the days and hours they are paid.  What about the sales manager who boards a plane on Sunday evening and returns Friday evening?  How do we calculate those hours away from home and family?  Tax season for accountants.  Project deadlines.  Quarterly closeouts.  All require an extra effort (and hours) from employees

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@Lee_CPA2 @elementary-pal And the fallacy in yours is that teachers only work 190 days and only work an hour extra each day.    My building has been full of teachers for the last two weeks (their official report day is August 1).  


Just remember that teachers make a difference.  They are charged with the most important task of any profession - preparing the future by teaching the doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, computer scientists, politicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, religious leaders, military personnel, etc. of the next generation.  Regardless of your thoughts on over-paid or under-paid, don't you think these folks ought to be some of the best paid professionals in our country?




Tom Green
Tom Green

What the charts do not show is the number of "legacy" teachers that have been lost as teachers' children no longer follow in their parents' career path. I was relieved when my children chose other careers and I've had co-workers tell their children that they'd have to pay their own way through school if they chose to go into teaching.

Jackie Vandenberg Roche
Jackie Vandenberg Roche

Same here- it hurts me when I tell my daughter to not become a teacher. I love what I do, starting year 22 on Monday, but the only reason I can do it is because of my husband and his job.

Jihad-Phobic
Jihad-Phobic

Nearly everyone has an extended family member with a current application pending at the local school district.

Despite what this article would have us believe, the pay is generous enough that applicants always greatly outnumber the open teaching positions in most subject areas. And where else do you get near total job security along with 2-3 months of vacation?


Starik
Starik

@Jihad-Phobic  Good benefits too. If only we had meaningful standards for hiring and retention...

Courtney2
Courtney2

@Jihad-Phobic  You could not be more wrong.  Every county in Metro Atlanta is SHORT teachers this year.  

alt_AJC
alt_AJC

@MaureenDowney

As always, by the time the school year begins job vacancies will be no more than with any other large government agency or corporation. And there will be a huge backlog of qualified teacher applicants.     

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@alt_AJC @MaureenDowney Not in math, science and foreign language or special ed. This is from the USDOE: 


Current high–need fields (in schools that serve low–income students) are:

• Bilingual Education and English Language Acquisition

 • Foreign Language 

 • Mathematics

 • Reading Specialist

 • Science 

  • Special Education

alt_AJC
alt_AJC

@MaureenDowney

That press release goes out every summer. But the reality is everyone has a daughter, son, niece or nephew qualified and waiting for a teaching job. 

Supply always exceeds demand. 

elementary-pal
elementary-pal

@alt_AJC @MaureenDowney Please see the comment above about standards for hiring.  Just because someone has an application on file does not mean they are qualified for the open positions.  Sometimes we interview many before finding someone who is highly qualified and is a good fit for our school.  

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@alt_AJC @MaureenDowney Not correct. Spend some time looking at national stories on districts desperate for math teachers. Here is one about how one district is resorting to online learning for math since it can't find math teachers. 

http://www.apalachtimes.com/news/20170726/district-wrestles-with-math-teacher-shortage

The story states:


After School Board Member George Thompson asked for details about the job search, Karen Peddie, head of the district’s human resources department, said the recruitment effort that began in the spring has been fruitless.

“I don’t know what else to do,” she said, after describing a full-scale advertising effort, job fair recruitment, contact with a long list of colleges and universities and extensive email communications with possible sources.

“It’s not for lack of trying,” she said.


The district school lost all three of his math teachers beginning last spring, when David Cochrane relocated to the Tampa area to accept a position in the Hillsborough County school district. Breonne Murray, who had been commuting from Tallahassee, opted not to return, and then a few weeks ago, Kassi Malcolm, a new mom, decided to relocate closer to her family roots in Wewahitchka.

“We’re not the only district struggling,” said Peddie

Christie_S
Christie_S

My school is still short 3 teachers and we just hired two last week. First day for students is next Monday. Even if we get these positions filled by next week, the new teachers aren't even allowed in the building until they've been through orientation and have received their county credentials. That takes a bit of time, so we're looking at beginning the new year with substitutes. 😞

Justinpassing
Justinpassing

Please do a survey about coaching class load and salary with teachers having an ACADEMIC degree. What portion of principals and other leadership positions are filled by athletic leftoverers? Disclaimer: I am a retired academic teacher from up-North, where athletics do not run the public schools.

Starik
Starik

How many of the degrees are real? How many are sham degrees to get higher pay? How many BA degrees are in Education from the lowest tier of colleges?

Love2Teach2
Love2Teach2

@Starik  the rigor of advanced degrees fills gaps that were not adequately addressed in a 4 year program.

E Pluribus Unum
E Pluribus Unum

@Starik

How many of the lowest tier colleges

were responsible for the economic 

collapse of 2008 (Many individuals 

responsible for making financially poor decisions leading up to the 2008 

economic crisis attended some of the

most respected universities in the

 country.) ? The quality of an educator

 involves many factors that are equally

 as important to delivering meaningful 

 and appropriate instruction (example-

classroom management). I understood

the point you were trying to make,but

I respectfully disagree with your position.

If a teacher understands the concept of

the Pythagorean Theorem at university

"A", how does that understanding

 change at university "C" ?








Kelly Paynter
Kelly Paynter

Hahaha--I'm laughing at the "average class size" statistic. I don't know where they are finding those numbers, but they are very inaccurate in metro Atlanta! My 5th grader is about to start in a class of 32. I was a high school teacher for 14 years, and for the past 7-8 years, class sizes have hovered around 35-37.

Stacey Freeman Gyorgyi
Stacey Freeman Gyorgyi

I know... I love the "School digger" and "Niche" sites where it says 14 in my kid's elementary school. Imagine 27 2nd graders with one teacher and no para-pro. All 178 counties that signed the IE2/SWSS charter waiver are exempt of mandatory class sizes.

readcritic
readcritic

Schools know how to fudge the class size numbers. Regular classes of 35+ students get averaged in with the Special Education, AP, or IB classes of 10. (35 +10 = 45.) Divide by 2 and you get what school spin doctors put out in the press release as an average class size of 22. Administrators are the best fantasy writers going and they get paid big bucks to make the numbers lie. Then they work hard to push the veteran teachers out so they can hire the cheaper newbies. 

readcritic
readcritic

And a school's designation as "Charter" allows it to do what it pleases. Federal rules out the window!

@grantpark
@grantpark

GCPS uses the IE2 waiver to overload specials with one teacher in the classroom = K-40+, 1st-37, 2nd-40+, 3rd-38, 4th-40, and 5th-38...233 students in one day or 1,165 in one week. If a teacher complains about class sizes in terms of safety, thats stepping out of line and cause for termination.  We were told not to use scissors with the K group due to safety concerns.....40 kindergarteners with one teacher is not safe for anyone! Para-pros are never placed in a specials classroom.  After a 5th grade student assaulted a teacher in the classroom, the teacher was reprimanded for the incident. 

GCPS creates a prison-like atmosphere that brings harm to the students as well as the teachers but nobody cares!  Pay close attention to pictures of GCPS teachers. Most are overweight and in poor health and some have serious medical emergencies on the job due to the stress of horrible Admin. management.  I know of several teachers that have had strokes in the classroom and many teachers are hauled out on stretchers to the ER but you never hear about that either.  Most AP's or Principals in GCPS could not manage a Waffle House for one week much less run a school. 

Chris Barrett
Chris Barrett

I could never be a teacher. I don't have the aptitude or the patience. I am all for better working conditions and think it is completely wrong that people are using their own salary to help do their own job. When I see that such a high percentage of teachers leave the field within five years, I would love to see a break down for other career paths. Do people who get a computer science degree stay after five years as a developer (not moving to managing, quality assurance, sales etc). Teachers do not have as many options for other positions as some other fields so if you start as a teacher and don't like it, you can't as easily transfer over to accounting, but when I have been at a company I have easily changed job roles. I went to school for one thing but was able to move into other things.

bu22
bu22

Those charts show something that rarely gets discussed.  Why do US public schools so badly fail middle schoolers?  Performance rapidly declines from 4th to 8th grade.  Do districts put their weakest teachers there?  Are they trying too hard too early to turn them into high schoolers?

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@bu22 My own view: Middle school model doesn't work that well. Proponents content that's because it is not being properly implemented in many places. 

If a model is that challenging to put into practice, it's the wrong model. 



Starik
Starik

@MaureenDowney @bu22  Kids between 11 and 14 should be in the middle. They should not be with older teenagers. 

Jackson
Jackson

@MaureenDowney @bu22 I think the issue is students start separating at the age... The quicker we can separate students on the right track the more success we will see.... Yet this is very controversial, especially with helicopter moms who push way to hard....Just my 2 cents...