The results from the 2020–21 National Teacher and Principal Survey have been released and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture. A staggering 55 percent of educators are thinking about leaving the profession earlier than they had planned. Exhausted and exasperated, the survey highlights a system of classroom teachers and other school staff who are under an unprecedented level of strain.
What is the National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS)?
The National Teacher and Principal Survey (NTPS) is a collection of questionnaires that gather information on the state of education in the United States. It covers both public and private schools and includes data on teachers, students, and the educational environments. This information is used by officials at the local, state, and national levels.
ThinkFives presents some of the top findings from the report to highlight issues and to encourage discussion at all levels to address the challenges.
“Teachers are working an average of 52 hours a week.”
Teachers are not only responsible for educating the next generation, but they’re also expected to work an excessive amount of overtime. According to the survey, full-time public school teachers are required to work 38.4 hours a week, on average, per their employment contracts with districts. But in reality, teachers spent an average of 52 hours working during a typical school week.
Less than half of that time—25.2 hours—was spent on actual teaching. This means that teachers are spending their overtime on grading, providing feedback, planning, preparing for lessons, and doing administrative work.
“Many teachers supplement their base salary with extracurriculars or second jobs.”
The average base salary for public school teachers is $61,600 in the 2020-21 school year, which is an improvement from $57,900 in the 2017-18 school year. However, this salary varies significantly from state to state. Teachers in New York made an average of $90,222 in the 2020-21 school year, while teachers in Mississippi made an average of $46,862.
To make ends meet, many teachers supplement their base salary with extracurriculars or second jobs. About 40 percent of public school teachers were compensated for extracurricular or additional activities within their school system, and about 5 percent received additional compensation based on their students’ performance.
“Most teachers feel like they have control over school policies—but some more than others.”
Teachers are the backbone of our education system, and it’s crucial that they have a say in school policies and practices. The majority of teachers feel like they have at least some control over school policies, but private school teachers reported having more control than their public school counterparts.
However, the influence teachers have in determining schoolwide policy and practice depends heavily on the principal and whether there are designated roles for teacher leadership.
“Teacher vacancies spanned all subjects.”
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the education system, and it has made staffing shortages even more severe. According to the study, in the 2020-21 school year, public schools found it difficult or were unable to fill their vacancies in several subject areas, including;
- Foreign languages (42.5 percent)
- Special education (40.2 percent)
- Physical sciences (37.3 percent)
- English as a second language (31.8 percent)
- Mathematics (31.7 percent)
- Computer science (31.3 percent)
- career or technical education (31.2 percent)
- Biology or life sciences (30.8 percent)
- Music or art (23.3 percent)
- English/language arts (18 percent)
- General elementary (13.1 percent)
- Physical education (11.6 percent)
- Social studies (10.8 percent)”
“The teaching profession remains overwhelmingly white—and grew even whiter.”
The teaching profession is in dire need of diversity, and unfortunately, it has only become more homogeneous over time. While recruiting new Black teachers is important, it’s crucial to focus on retaining the Black teachers that are already in the classroom.
During the 2020-21 school year:
- 79.9 percent of public school teachers were white
- 9.4 percent were Hispanic
- 6.1 percent were Black
- 2.4 percent were Asian
- 1.6 percent were of two or more races.
With such a lack of diversity in the teaching force, it’s essential to take steps towards change.
What is your reaction to the survey?