Merrimack College Teacher Survey

About the Survey

The annual Merrimack College Teacher Survey of K-12 educators, delivered in partnership with Education Week, highlights and promotes teachers’ voices and perspectives regarding some of the most important and complex issues in U.S. schools.

The Merrimack College Teacher Survey found that teachers feel overworked, underpaid and not respected by the public.

12%

Very Satisfied with Their Jobs

44%

Very/Fairly Likely to Leave the Profession Within 2 Years

Methodology

Conducted January 9 – February 23, 2022, by the EdWeek Research Center, the Merrimack College Teacher Survey gathered perspectives from 1,324 teachers. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points, with a 95 percent confidence level.

View Full Survey Results

Professor standing at front of class

Why the Survey Results Matter

Teaching is one of the toughest jobs in America, and the pandemic has only made it harder. New teacher retention is at an all-time low and fewer and fewer students are considering entering the teaching profession. The Merrimack College Teacher Survey found that teachers feel overworked, underpaid and not respected by the public.

Through this survey, and by hearing teachers’ voices and perspectives, the Winston School of Education & Social Policy is committed to solving and reversing these issues.

What We Learned

In reviewing the responses of the 1,300 K-12 participants, here’s what we learned:

Many teachers are feeling disillusioned.

The overall sentiment of this survey is that teachers are overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated.

Some communities are being left behind.

The survey data suggests that teachers in urban schools teaching primarily low-income and non-white populations feel especially unheard, under-appreciated and unsupported.

Teachers are bogged down with administrative work.

Teachers overwhelmingly wish they could focus more of their time on teaching-related activities (teaching, planning, grading and giving feedback) and spend less time on non-teacher-related activities (general administrative work, hall and lunch duty, and school committee work).

By the Numbers

The Merrimack College Teacher Survey gathered perspectives from 1,324 teachers, who averaged 54 hours worked per week and includes the following results:

12%

Very satisfied with their jobs.

44%

Very/fairly likely to leave the profession within 2 years.

26%

Believe they are paid fairly.

76%

Feel respected by students’ parents.

82%

Feel respected within the school.

46%

Feel respected by general public.

What School Administrators Can Do

The Issue

The Solution

Teachers are disillusioned and ready to leave the profession.
Teachers are overworked, underpaid and under-appreciated for the professionals that they are. Just 12% of teachers are very satisfied with their job, compared to 62% in 2008.
We must first bolster the foundation for teachers to feel secure in their jobs by increasing salary, strengthening mental health and well-being, and addressing staffing shortages.
Professional Learning Communities:
We are preparing teachers to understand the systems they will be entering, to ensure they know how to navigate and succeed within them.
The classroom is being politicized.
Teachers have become the collateral damage due to political battles about “hot button” topics, from the rise in book banning to the false claims that schools are indoctrinating kids into “critical race theory.” Just 46% of teachers feel respected by the general public.
We must acknowledge that teachers are professionals, and do not attempt to be political. We must therefore give teachers the autonomy, authority and freedom to teach.
Teachers are Professionals:
We are preparing teachers to have mastery of their subject matter and teach it thoughtfully and professionally.
There’s a deprofessionalization of teaching.
Every day, teachers feel they are not given the support and resources and ability to do the job they were hired to do, with 82% wishing they could focus more of their time on teaching-related activities
Research is clear that good teachers are the most important variable in schools for students’ learning. Yet teachers in the US spend more time teaching – and thus not enough time preparing and planning – than 46 out of 48 countries.
Teacher Leadership:
We are preparing teachers to become leaders in their schools.
Teachers in urban districts are overwhelmed.
Those who are already most at risk of academically falling behind are now even more at risk because urban teachers are the most burnt out and disillusioned of all, with teachers in urban districts reporting the highest dissatisfaction rate with their jobs (52%).
Systemic problems require systemic solutions. Teachers in urban schools must be given the support and resources to deal with the additional burdens of under-resourced and marginalized communities and school systems.
Equity & Justice:
We are preparing teachers to understand and help to overcome the inequities in our urban school systems.

What Teachers Said in the Survey

“I love teaching. That said, I have not had a raise in 18 years. Every year, more and more is added to our list of things required to do with no compensation, especially in the last 3 COVID years. We work long hours, many for free, we create interesting motivating lessons, we spend our own money… to help our students. Eventually the amount of work, lack of respect, and indifference of those in positions of power and authority wear you down.”
“Critical race theory is not taught in elementary school and should be taught in elementary schools. History, no matter how painful it is, should be taught!”
“My role as a teacher should be to teach the students. I have taught for many years and feel each year I get less real-time to teach my students and more things piled on my plate to do for documentation or administration duties. I just want to teach my students.”
“Sometimes the hardest part of my job is encouraging hope to a generation of kids that often seem to have none.”
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Newsroom

Explore media coverage of this survey.

WCVB Boston

Survey conducted by Merrimack shows many teachers dissatisfied.
Visit WCVB for Story

The Boston Globe

Crying need for support as pandemic weighs on students, teachers alike.
Read Article

About Us

Merrimack’s Winston School of Education and Social Policy strives to transform the field of teacher preparation and retention by providing national thought leadership and research, yielding valuable insights to educators and policymakers in today’s complex and evolving K-12 educational environment.

Merrimack College is a private college in North Andover, Massachusetts that offers more than 100 career-focused undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs, all taught by faculty who are passionate about their subjects.

Merrimack College has received several accolades and recognitions, including U.S. News & World Report Best Regional Universities, North Most Innovative Schools (#3) and Money Magazine’s Money’s Best Colleges 2020, and has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education for having one of the nation’s fastest-growing private master’s programs.

Dan Sarofian-Butin, Ph.D., is a full professor in, and was founding Dean of, the Winston School of Education & Social Policy at Merrimack College. Dr. Sarofian-Butin is the author and editor of 100+ academic publications, including eight books, several of which have been translated into three languages. His scholarship focuses on civic and community engagement, teacher preparation, and higher education policy. He has been one of the top 200 “Public Presence” Education Scholars, consulted for, among others, the US Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), and written for publications as varied as InsideHigherEd, Education Week, the Huffington Post, and the Times Higher Education. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. SarofianButin was a middle school math and science teacher and the chief financial officer of Teach For America.