Standard P.5. Recruitment and Retention of Teacher Candidates
An effective mathematics teacher preparation program attracts, nurtures, and graduates high-quality teachers of mathematics who are representative of diverse communities.
Given the critical shortage of well-prepared teachers of high school mathematics, for effective high school mathematics teacher preparation programs to devote significant attention to attracting prospective teachers who have been successful in mathematics is imperative. Recruitment can be particularly challenging, given the perception that teachers receive minimal pay relative to other professions that individuals with a baccalaureate in mathematics can pursue. It is also particularly hard to recruit individuals of color into teaching, again given the allure of higher paying and more prestigious jobs in fields that are also seeking to diversify their workplaces. The traditional pathway into mathematics teaching by those who love engaging in mathematics is still present, and effective programs capitalize on that pathway. But other pathways can be explored; for example, programs might appeal to those who find enjoyment in helping others, including career changers who are interested in contributing to society in positive ways.
Efforts must also be made to counter the narrative that high school teaching jobs are particularly low paying; some emerging research shows a significant difference between what STEM majors perceive to be teacher salaries and actual salaries. Although pay may be low, it is not as low as perceived by those who might consider a career as a mathematics teacher (Dickey, 2016). Effective programs spread the word that teaching mathematics at the high school level is a viable career option that can be very satisfying to those who pursue it.