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Reasons for low enrollment in teacher prep/college programs



Senior Member
I think it is the whole lot and no one certain thing... I certainly do not get paid a lot. Sixteen years in and I just broke the $40K line last year. For the pay to hours worked ratio, I'm better off at Buccee's. Yes, the gas station. I think a lot of young people see this--and the ridiculousness of the work load compared to a lot of jobs.

I also remember a lot more Career Changers in the past. I was one myself. Although I had my degree and certification right from undergrad, I had a double major that lead me into Social Work for 10 years prior to teaching. I wasn't the only one though. I haven't seen any stats on that but I'd bet that number has reduced as well.

And too, when was the last time, YOU encouraged someone to enter teaching... Speaking for myself, I don't do it anymore. NEVER. And I am not sure what will need to happen for that to change.


Senior Member
These are all excellent observations. A couple more reasons—

Lack of job mobility. My own kids went into other fields and they’ve all changed jobs. That’s very common. In education it’s possible to go from one district to another—I know teachers who have done it—but it can be difficult. School districts often don’t want to spend extra money on an experienced teacher, especially one with a master’s degree.

There’s also the long probationary period. When I started in the 1970s, it was nothing to worry about. In recent years, I’ve seen young teachers who have had their careers ruined (or almost ruined) by crazy administrators. I know two fine teachers who were denied tenure by a ridiculous principal after teaching for three years. One managed to get a job in another district (where’s she’s well-liked and doing very well), but the other was unsuccessful in her job search. She ended up changing careers.
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Senior Member
I started teaching in the mid 80's in a place like you first described. The University was churning out teachers and thousands applied for 1 elementary position. I lived in an ideal location. I worked at a private school at first.
The thought of subbing or working as an aide was not appealing to me either, so I went to where the jobs were too.
The ex- teacher turned comedian says: Central Office is scared of the parents, the principals are scared of central office, and the kids aren't scared of anyone, sums it up for me.
Discipline went off the rails at some point. I'm not sure when because I switched states and then it got bad. It got progressively worse the more kids knew there were no consequences for their bad behavior. I know it is not as bad everywhere else.
With years of experience, good references, and a LOT less competition, I ended up getting a job back in that ideal location. There were no longer 1,000's of applicants for 1 job in 2000's. They maybe had 100 applicants by then per job. Now after Covid, they are hiring any breathing body they can find. From what I hear, it is a pretty bad situation. They have hired new teachers and given them zero support or guidance even. It sounds like kids are not learning much here.
I think social media had to play a role in it all. People started seeing problems teachers faced. I think the internet showed teaching as a less attractive option.
The media has played a part in portraying teachers poorly. I have known people who distrust teachers and assume they are teaching all kinds of garbage to their kids.
Kids have been on computers their whole lives now. They have seen videos of what teaching is like. If I had seen some of the comedians, they have now talking about education, I probably never would have gone into education either.
Scripted programs, lack of discipline, and lack of support became the downfalls in education to me.
I heard a quote that I like a lot. There is not a shortage of teachers. There is a shortage of teachers who are willing to work under these conditions.
I know more people who quit teaching due to conditions than quit due to low pay.
However, I was fortunate to get into higher paying districts. In 1 place, the cost of living was so cheap that I was able to buy a new house and car my 1st year. I do understand there are many places that do not pay decently though.
That is a horrible problem in some states.


Junior Member
I graduated college the same time as you, so we're probably around the same age. At that time, I knew teaching paid less than other careers, but I wasn't aware how much. Today, media lets everyone know that we are "poor." I say poor with quotations because the students have made comments as if I am being paid min. wage and can't afford anything (that's only partly true haha). Also, everyone now hates teachers. We are the enemy; why would anyone want to be a part of that? I think the major reason is that with technology and social media, people are finding that they no longer have to work a 9-5. People can now get paid to WFH doing something they are passionate about. You no longer need a business degree or a building to sell things that you make. Technology has made it to where you can get paid six figures by selling homemade goods, playing games online against other players, and posting makeup tips on TikTok. Teaching has gone down because the workforce has changed.


Junior Member
I graduated with my teaching degree in 2010 and was lucky to get a job as a para. The market was flooded with teachers back then. It's so strange to see the pendulum swing and there are so many open positions and districts begging for teachers/workers. It gives me a slight sense of security. Not much, but slight. I think kids have heard for so long, "Don't go into teaching" that they are finally listening and doing something else. It's sad though, because having taught, left, and then come back, I have zero desire to be in the corporate world ever again. Give me the comforts of teaching/education, please.