Teachers who are “career changers” and who have come to the teaching profession from other fields say their career change brings benefits to the classroom, according to a new University of Phoenix College of Education survey focusing on how K-12 teachers view their profession.
Those benefits include real-world experience, new ideas, teacher diversity, and unique teaching styles and perspectives.
Just in time for Teacher Appreciation Week, the survey takes a look at teachers’ satisfaction with their careers and also takes stock of the impact teacher shortages have on schools.
Of surveyed teachers who have worked in the profession for five years or more, nearly half (47 percent) said they have had more opportunities for leadership roles, including serving on special committees, mentoring, and running special after-school programs.
(Next page: 8 facts educators share about their profession)
1. Forty-one percent of surveyed K-12 educators said there is at least one unfilled teaching position at their school.
2. As a result of those unfilled positions, 39 percent of educators said they have larger class sizes, 32 percent said their school has high teacher turnover rates, and 23 percent said it results in more teaching “toward the middle.”
3. Thirty-four percent of K-12 teachers are career changers–of those, 36 percent come from the business and management field.
4. The top reasons that current educators left their previous fields for teaching include a desire to teach (36 percent), needing a change of pace (31 percent), and more flexibility (23 percent).
5. Most surveyed teachers said they are happy in their profession–93 percent said they are satisfied with their career choice.
6. Seventy-seven percent of teachers who joined the field in the past 10 years said they would recommend it. The top reasons teachers would recommend their profession include the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives (70 percent), the opportunity to profoundly affect students’ lives (54 percent), and the variety that exists in the profession (36 percent).
7. Sixty-four percent of educators said their real-world experience is a benefit of having a career change lead the classroom.
8. Forty-eight percent of teachers said they agree that career changers bring fresh ideas to the education environment.