How can we build a profession that supports new teachers? Some other countries offer ideas to consider.

You already know that the impact of an effective teacher is the single most important school-based factor in improving student learning. With that acknowledgement comes greater responsibility and an unprecedented focus on teachers from all quarters of society.

Teaching has become a revolving door. More people enter the profession, but more new teachers leave.

Nationally and internationally, the demand for effective teachers has never been greater. I recently attended UNESCO’s World Teachers’ Day in Paris, France. This event focused on strengthening the teaching profession to confront the global educational challenges.

Consider these facts:

    A total of 6.8 million teachers will be needed by 2015 for universal primary education worldwide. 1.7 million primary teacher positions will need to be created by 2013 to achieve universal primary education worldwide. 5.1 million new teachers worldwide will be needed to replace teachers who are retiring or leaving the profession.


Teachers are in demand across the globe. Here in the U.S., we’ve learned that teacher labor markets are driven by local circumstances as well as state and national policies. The numbers — whether local, national, or international — need to be analyzed to understand what’s driving them.

More than a recruitment challenge

Richard Ingersoll’s research into teacher recruitment and retention offers additional insights on teacher demand in the U.S. Analyzing 20 years of the Schools and Staffing Survey, Ingersoll says:

    From the later 1980s to 2008, the number of teachers in the U.S. teaching force rose by 48%. This increase was accompanied
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