The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: Past, Present, and Future

Ben Hoffman

MetLife Foundation
February 2009

Teachers voices are often absent from education policy debates. For twenty-five years, MetLife's annual teacher survey has sought to provide a corrective. Most notable in the latest iteration is how happy teachers seem to be; two-thirds feel satisfied with their careers, feel respected in society, and believe their salary is decent. A full 75 percent of teachers would advise a young person to pursue a similar career. These findings stand in stark contrast to the conventional wisdom about teaching: that it's a tough, miserable, underpaid job. (Granted, teachers might be feeling particularly grateful to have steady jobs in the current economic environment; when the survey was administered, the Dow was in the midst of its free-fall.) Still, the news is not all good. Sprinkled throughout the 190-page report are grim reminders of the achievement gap's persistence: teachers in urban schools are more likely than those in rural or suburban settings to cite lower school standards, lack of teaching materials, and high district dropout rates. Nearly half of teachers say poverty hinders learning for at least a quarter of their students, while 22 percent say students' struggles with English do the same. There's a lot more, too, including findings about teachers' views on technology, relationships with parents, and standardized test. Find it here.

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