The 2021-22 Tennessee Educator Survey results have been released; the 2022-23 survey is now live and will be open until April 17.

For the past decade, the Tennessee Department of Education has partnered with the Tennessee Education Research Alliance (TERA) to administer the Tennessee Educator Survey and gather teachers’ feedback.  The annual survey asks some questions that are the same each year to track perceptions over time in addition to new questions about current issues. 

In the 2021-22 school year, 51 percent of Tennessee’s teachers and administrators completed the survey. TDOE released an overview of the survey data, and TERA recently released several briefs on specific topics, including briefs focused on educators’ perceptions of learning recovery and plans to continue teaching, as well as briefs highlighting the perspectives of career and technical education teachers, pre-K teachers, early-career teachers, and administrators.  

Here are a few key highlights from the 2022 survey responses.

Pandemic challenges tied to student discipline and attendance lingered in the 2021-22 school year, though teachers did report being able to cover the expected content. 

  • Teacher satisfaction has returned to prepandemic levels and overall job satisfaction and feelings about school climate remain high.
  • Teachers identified student attendance as the top challenge in the 2021-22 school year. 
  • Teachers reported spending more time on student disciplinary issues in the 2021-22 school year compared to previous years.
  • In 2021-22, more teachers reported that they were able to cover a similar amount of content from their formal curriculum as they would have expected to in a prepandemic year.

More teachers reported plans to leave teaching in 2022 than the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. This aligns with data from other states.

  • Most teachers indicated they plan to continue teaching in their schools next year; however, the number of teachers considering leaving has increased from previous years. 
  • Teachers of color and first-year teachers were less likely to say they will continue teaching in their schools.  
  • Teachers who reported they plan to transfer, leave teaching, or who were undecided were less satisfied with school culture, leadership, and evaluation. 

Early-career teachers in their first three years on the job reported feeling less prepared than prior cohorts of new teachers — this is likely due to experiencing teacher preparation and their early years of teaching during the COVID era.

  • Most early-career teacher respondents reported that they feel prepared for their current roles; however, levels of reported preparedness dropped in 2022 compared to previous years. 
  • Early-career teacher respondents reported that student teaching and coaching were more beneficial to their professional preparation than academic coursework.  
  • Early-career teacher respondents who reported that their preparation programs offered career services resources were more likely to report that they feel prepared for their current roles. However, reported use of these resources among early-career teachers was not associated with feelings of preparedness, except for the use of an advisor.
  • Early-career teacher respondents who reported spending less time on student discipline and those who felt that students respected adults in their school were more likely to report feeling prepared for their current roles.   

Full survey results for the state and for districts and schools that had at least a 45 percent response rate are available on the TDOE website.

Laura Booker is the executive director of the Tennessee Education Research Alliance and a senior lecturer in the Department of Leadership, Policy, and Organizations at Vanderbilt University.