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[Blog] Attracting Gen Z to Teaching

Teacher Shortages

Teacher shortages have been widespread since the pandemic – an easily determinable turning point in education. However, dwindling graduates with education degrees pointed to a shortage long before the pandemic delivered a devastating blow.

The numbers are staggering. According to Pew Research Center, education degrees accounted for about 4% of the total number of degrees issued in 2019-2020. This is a significant drop from the 2000-2001 school year when education degrees accounted for about 8% of all undergraduate degrees. Still, that decrease doesn’t compare to the decline we’ve seen since the 1970-1971 school year, when education degrees accounted for 21% of all undergraduate degrees.

History of Teaching

Compared to today’s shortages, it’s likely we had an entirely opposite problem leading into the early 2000s. So many people were seeking teaching degrees that students began to feel dissuaded from pursuing a career in education. Burnout, wages, and concerns about the political climate in teaching are also flagged as reasons for the drop in interest. The teacher shortage obviously doesn’t have just one solution. However, something is obviously clear – we need to attract more people to the field of education.

Gen Z and Teaching

First, let’s consider some characteristics of Gen Z. They spent their entire lives with advanced technology. They are a very diverse population. And, they experience significant rates of anxiety and depression. Taking just those few characteristics into consideration, it is fair to assume that Gen Z would be drawn to education if they were offered tech resources, a diverse classroom, and community support inside and outside of the classroom. However, how teachers are educated ALSO needs reformation. Teachers need to learn how to incorporate technology into their classrooms, manage diverse classroom situations, and handle high-stress environments. Just like schools and education administrations are held accountable for attracting people to their field, institutions of higher learning must do a better job of promoting the field of education and preparing people for its challenges.


We can clearly identify part of the problem when it comes to attracting young people to the field of teaching. While easily identifiable, it will take legacy leaders and administrators offering Gez Z a seat at the table in decision making to solve these problems. If the field wants reformation, the field must accept new ideas and new sources of those ideas.

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