Career Paths for Educators

PrincipalWith all the talk about career ladders for current educators, the focus remains largely on how excellent classroom teachers can become terrific school principals or administrators. The assumption is that those who excel in the classroom will naturally want to excel in the building as a whole.

A recent study in the American Educational Research Journal, as reported recently by Education Week, looked at the career tracks of more than 11,000 educators over 17 years. EdWeek’s Sarah Sparks noted that the average teacher makes the change from classroom to leadership after five to seven years teaching.

Interestingly, Sparks reported differences in the study based on the gender and race of those seeking leadership positions. As she noted:

White male teachers were more likely than women and those of racial minorities to become principals, and they did so earlier in their careers. White teachers with administrative certification were more than one and a half times as likely to become principals as black or Latino teachers with the same certification. However, black and Latino male teachers were more likely than women teachers of any race to become principals.

As educators advise their students on career paths and all of the opportunities available to them, it is important that these educators see the same opportunities for themselves – and by extension those students seeking a career in education. This data provides some important insights, and makes clear the need to help teachers – all teachers – see the leadership opportunities available to them.

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