Each year on October 5, World Teachers’ Day is celebrated around the globe. The theme for 2019 is “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession.” This theme is timely and fitting because teaching is no longer lifted up as a great professional option for our youth.
It is almost weekly when the teacher shortage is mentioned. When I attended the forum about teacher pay in Indiana, a Purdue professor shared about how there is a decrease in students enrolling in certain education majors such as the STEM fields. Certain education fields are taking a hit, but the prestige of the profession as a whole is only going to make fewer students consider becoming teachers.
I remember being in elementary school and my class had to come up with a list of jobs they wanted to do. Then, we were tasked with researching a few jobs of interest. I remember there being students who researched becoming a teacher. Now, when I ask students what they want to do, rarely does any student say teacher. This concerns me.
We need to make teaching a profession that students want to pursue in college. The problem is our students have a front-row seat to the profession and the view is not great. They see worn down teachers. Teachers who are stressed. Teachers who teach their class, but also work part-time at a store in the mall where they shop. Too many students have seen teachers quit during the year. After being aware of this, why would students choose teaching as a job?
To get more young teachers into the profession, we have to improve the profession to make it a viable option. Teachers should not be on the cover of Time magazine because they are struggling; they should be on the cover because they are changing the world.
As much as I appreciate those who have pursued another career and decide later in life to become a teacher, I am hoping for more young people to join the profession and make it their lifelong career.