Recruiting and retaining teachers is a challenge that United States school districts have faced for several years. However, when combined with a mild economic recession, the teacher job market can become even more competitive and challenging.

At a conference I recently attended, the major topic of discussion was the recruitment and retention of teachers. As I spoke with colleagues from across the nation, they shared their struggles to fill every classroom with a certified teacher, which directly impacts student outcomes.

In addition to the impact on student performance, there is a long term impact on our society and economy. Our students are the future workforce. John Meachum reminds us “Education is the engine of citizenship and the engine of democracy.”

During an economic downturn, school districts may be forced to make difficult decisions regarding funding, leading to budget cuts and reduced available teaching positions. This can exacerbate the already-existing issue of teacher shortages and make it more challenging for districts to recruit and retain teachers.

One of the primary reasons why teacher shortages occur is low pay and inadequate compensation. When a recession hits, school districts may be unable to offer teachers the same salary increases or benefits they would during more robust economic times, making it more challenging to attract and retain qualified teachers. This can lead to frustration among educators who feel undervalued and under-compensated for their work.

In addition to salary concerns, the recession may lead to fewer private school students. This is because private schools typically have higher tuition costs, and families may be unable to afford them during an economic downturn. This may reduce the number of teaching positions available in private schools, which could further impact the job market for teachers.

Teacher shortages can create a domino effect on students’ quality of education. Overburdened teachers may have difficulty providing individualized attention and may be forced to teach classes outside of their expertise, which can negatively impact the quality of education.

Various economic factors, including mild economic recessions, can impact the teacher job market. When combined with existing challenges regarding teacher shortages, it can be challenging for school districts to recruit and retain qualified teachers. 

“The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional length to hire the best people in the world.”

-Steve Jobs

Districts must consider competitive compensation packages, invest in teacher training and support, and provide teachers with the resources necessary to deliver a quality education to their students. 

By addressing these issues, school districts can help mitigate the economic recession’s impact and build a sustainable teaching workforce.

Has recruiting and retaining teachers become more challenging for your district?


Are you a classroom teacher, school administrator, or central office staff member looking for more guidance? Then join me for the Moore Leadership Moment on YouTube.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.