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The Struggle to Recruit and Retain New Teachers

empty classroom with student desks

Educational entities continue to struggle to recruit and retain qualified teachers, and the outlook is dire as the pool of prospective educators dwindles each year.

Recent Survey Data

Education Week recently highlighted reasons why prospective teachers are reexamining entry into the education workforce. Topping the chart is the never-ending to-do list. The job responsibilities for teachers in the profession today are a major detractor, according to 90 percent of educators surveyed by the EdWeek Research Center.

The survey of over 1,300 principals, teachers, and district leaders conducted in June and July 2023 revealed that 56 percent believed the demands placed on teachers are too high and that this is one of the reasons recruitment and retention of teachers is a challenge for schools.

Supporting Research

According to a report from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, the number of people completing a teacher education program between 2008-2009 and 2018-2019 declined by almost a third. Traditional programs saw the largest decline (35 percent), but alternative programs also experienced large drops in enrollment.

Furthermore, a survey commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College found that a typical teacher works 54 hours per week with only around 25 of those hours teaching students. The remainder of the hours included responsibilities not directly related to interacting with students.


Attracting and retaining quality teachers is an ongoing struggle for educational entities due to teacher shortages and the decline of enrollment in educator preparation programs. To address recruitment and retention of highly qualified teachers, schools may need to reevaluate the demands on teachers outside of the classroom.

From teaching students to managing the never-ending list of responsibilities each day, the rewards of being a teacher are beginning to rank second to the increased stressors of working in education. It may be time for educational entities to examine the increased responsibilities of teachers to determine how to improve retention and recruitment efforts in their schools. 

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Jennifer Barton
Jennifer Barton
Senior HR and Compensation Consultant

Jennifer Barton joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with compensation planning and development, staffing reviews, training, and other HR projects. Prior to joining TASB, Barton served for 19 years in Texas public schools as a principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.

Barton earned master’s degrees in education and educational leadership from The University of Texas at Austin and Lamar University. She holds a Texas superintendent certificate and is a SHRM-CP.

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