Careers in Education the Perfect Fit for Millennials

Jason Messenger's picture

I recently came across an article in Forbes magazine that caught my eye, entitled "How To Attract And Retain Millennials And Get Them To Do Their Life's Best Work For You" by Yuri Kruman. Kruman, a Millennial himself, describes what Millennials want from work and what keeps them at a job. My first thought was: "Who do these Millennials think they are – shouldn’t they be happy with getting an entry-level job in America today?" My next thought was: "I sound like the old man yelling at the kids to get off his lawn." Maybe it is time for us to start looking at how we in education can attract and retain the next generation of teachers. As we reach the end of the year, many principals across the state will be looking to fill a wide range of educational positions, as we face a shortage of teachers to fill these positions.

In Kruman's article, he refers to a Harvard Business Review which lists what Millennials find most important in a job. Their list includes: their work means something; to solve problems with the environment and society; to interact with cool and interesting people; find prestige in a company; be passionate about the work they do; to become an expert; maintain a work-life balance; and progress in their careers.

Looking closely at their list, these are all job qualities the education world can offer Millennials. Our work means something, and we are involved in daily problem-solving which has an impact on the world. We definitely interact with cool and interesting people every day. We are asked to become experts in our fields, and there are many opportunities to advance in our profession. With all that, people in our profession are some of the most passionate people in the world. Harvard Business Review also mentions Millennials desire to achieve financial security, and start their own businesses. The latter of these two is probably out of the question, but we must continue to advocate for more funding for our schools making this profession more financially attractive.

Our profession has so much to offer. And with a teacher storage upon us, it is time for us as principals to take action. We need to be proactive instead of reactive in recruiting the new generation of teachers highlighting the great attributes a career in education has to offer. We have to actively attract Millennials to this field by showcasing how they can make a difference in people's lives. Our profession needs to evolve if we hope to retain Millennials. To avoid a shortage turning into a crisis, we must inspect both our formal and informal practices with new teachers. As principals, we may need to abandon the practice of giving the new teacher the schedule no one wants. We will need to get our new teachers involved and empowered while maintaining an appropriate work-life balance. I love my profession and believe the next generation will too!

Written by Jason Messenger, Principal at Lakeshore Middle School and Region 7 Representative on the MASSP Board of Directors. Contact Jason at jmessenger@lpslancer.net