SOURCE: Tucson Values Teachers

Vaught

January 16, 2014 16:20 ET

Tucson Values Teachers Workforce Study Reveals Critical Teacher Attraction and Retention Concerns in Southern Arizona

TUCSON, AZ--(Marketwired - January 16, 2014) - Of Southern Arizona's current teachers, more than one-fourth (27 percent) indicate they are not likely to be teaching in this region five years from now, according to Tucson Values Teachers' first Teacher Workforce Study.

From September 27 to October 14, 2013, Tucson Values Teachers (TVT) surveyed 1,644 teachers to confirm and reveal alarming statistics about today's teachers. The complete study is available online at www.tucsonvaluesteachers.org.

"Anecdotally, while we have always known that teachers work long hours for little salary and support, there has not been regional data available to back this up," says Jacquelyn Jackson, TVT executive director. "This survey provides data that paints a true picture of life as a teacher and the challenges our community will face if we don't quickly find a way to attract teachers and keep our educators in the classroom."

The report documents that 86 percent of all teachers surveyed are not at all likely or only somewhat likely to recommend their profession to others, severely influencing the attractiveness of the profession to future teachers.

While the joy of teaching and the opportunity to work with children and help people are driving reasons for becoming teachers, only 31 percent indicate that they are satisfied with their job.

According to the survey, teachers work an average 60-hours a week on classroom and teaching-related activities. Teachers spend an additional 124-hours per year on classroom-related activities, including summer preparation and professional development. In addition, nearly one-third (32.1 percent) of all teachers have an additional paying job outside of the classroom. The primary reason for a second job (94.2 percent) is personal financial necessity.

The survey revealed that teachers spend on average $1,142 per year out of their own personal funds for professional development and to supply their classrooms and students with supplies. Even more alarming, 33 percent pay more than 3 percent of their gross salary on classroom and student-related expenses. One teacher in 12 pays 7 percent or more of their gross salary to supplement their teaching and student classroom needs. 

"These findings reinforce the need for programs like Tucson Values Teachers, which is the only locally driven initiative in the nation dedicated to attracting and retaining teachers," says Jackson. "In addition, these local numbers mimic state and national data. Clearly, attracting and retaining teachers is a workforce issue that requires immediate attention. We should demand the economic compensation that this college-educated profession deserves. Our economic prosperity and the future of our children are at stake. It is up to all of us to step up and let our teachers know they are respected and valued."

Selected findings:

  •  While job satisfaction correlates to a teacher's likelihood to continue in and recommend their profession; approximately two-thirds of those who are very satisfied are hesitant about recommending their profession to others.
  •  Older and more experienced teachers, those with a graduate degree and those in public schools are less likely than others to continue teaching in southern Arizona.
  •  Approximately 35 percent of teachers who are from outside of Arizona are "not at all likely" to continue teaching in southern Arizona.
  •  Of the teachers surveyed approximately 68 percent state that they are perceived by the community as "child care, probation officers and secretaries" rather than their self-perception of professions like nurses, social workers and psychiatrists or professionals like accountants, lawyers and doctors.
  •  Less than half (44 percent) of teachers feel that they have adequate input into how they teach.
  •  Only 14 percent of current teachers indicate that they are "very likely" to recommend the teaching profession in Southern Arizona, with 47 percent "somewhat likely;" nearly two out of every five teachers (39 percent) "not at all likely" to recommend teaching.
  •  A majority of teachers cite the joy of teaching (71 percent), working with children (70 percent) and helping people (63 percent) as the three most likely reasons they originally became teachers.
  •  In addition to basic school supplies, 36 percent of teachers spend their own money to support the basic needs of their students such as clothes, shoes and lunches.
  •  Teachers spend on average $1,142 per year out of their own personal funds for professional development and to supply their classrooms and students with supplies.
  •  One teacher in 12 pays 7 percent or more of their gross salary to supplement their teaching and student classroom needs. 
  •  Approximately 35 percent of teachers cite that they became teachers because they had a history of teachers in the family or knew other teachers.
  •  The majority (58.3 percent) of teachers are dissatisfied with their salary and benefits.
  •  Nearly one-third (32.1 percent) of all teachers have an additional paying job outside of the classroom. Of those who have a job, 94.2 percent state the need for additional income as the reason.
  •  Even of those who are generally satisfied staying in the profession is questionable. Only 61 percent are "very likely" to continue teaching and 26 percent "very likely" to recommend it to others.

About Tucson Values Teachers:
Tucson Values Teachers is a regional initiative determined to prove that the Southern Arizona community should not just talk about the importance of improving education, but must unify in action to retain, recruit and reward teachers. The organization recognizes the critical role of teachers in the region and values the vital influence they have on Tucson's future. For more information and to support Tucson Values Teachers visit www.tucsonvaluesteachers.org or call (520) 327-7619.

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