Resources on the Teaching Profession

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 300,000 teachers were leaving the profession each year, and schools were also facing persistent shortages among the school support staff who play such a vital role in every child’s school day. The pandemic only made things worse. The pandemic, combined with political culture wars, made the last two years the toughest in modern times for educators.

The AFT conducted a members survey as well as hosted focus groups where our members shared their on-the-ground experiences. Armed with that data, along with expert academic research, our national Teacher and School Staff Shortage Task Force—made up of 25 leaders from state and local affiliates across the country—released a report, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?. This report offers practical, research-proven solutions to reverse the shortages and revitalize the education profession.

Also available: Executive Summary and Report in Brief

In this updated report, Louisa C. Moats calls for teacher preparation and professional development to be more rigorous and better aligned with decades of reading science. She describes the knowledge that undergirds successful instruction and concludes with recommendations for the professional preparation of all teachers of reading. It is our nation’s dedicated teachers and their excellent teaching that will bring the rocket science that is research-based reading instruction to classrooms across the country and will unlock the power and joy of reading for our children.
All students benefit from a more diverse teaching force. Research indicates that students, educators and the public school system all benefit from students having the opportunity to learn from a wide array of perspectives. Learn about the research, how the union can help, and information and resources on how to start a "grow your own" program in your local.

This catalog describes the professional development offerings available. Also included are recommended audience and duration; and how to contact us to schedule an event or training. 

This brochure describes the AFT Teacher Leaders Program (TLP), which brings together a select group of teachers throughout the school year to learn how to take active leadership roles in their schools, unions and communities. Participants in the TLP help to strengthen the union and its connection to the community building greater support and understanding of public schools. (2018)
Teachers work in an exciting and fast-paced environment where they are required to make quick decisions throughout the day; deliver effective instruction; cultivate a rigorous and nurturing climate for learning; and foster the academic, social, and emotional growth of their students. If you are interested in a personally fulfilling career helping children realize their dreams, improving our society and advancing social justice, find out why becoming a teacher is the right choice for you.
More than three decades since the beginning of PAR, there is clear evidence that PAR programs are successful. Today, there are many different versions and iterations, but across the country districts with PAR praise the successes and improvements they have seen in their teachers and students. The AFT has sought to understand how some districts have been able to develop and sustain these programs and what other districts can do to move beyond the barriers and toward a system of teacher-led growth and support. (March 2016)
This report captures lessons learned from working with educators in the field for the past five years: labor-management collaboration is essential for comprehensive, systemic success, including for the creation of teacher development and evaluation frameworks for continuous improvement; teaching standards are helpful for training and empowering teachers as well as for identifying effective instructional areas and those that need improvement; teacher development and evaluations systems that use multiple measures provide a fuller picture of teaching quality and effective learning; evaluators need to be continuously trained; educators need to receive timely feedback and get professional development tailored to meet teacher needs; and a differentiated evaluation process enables districts to focus their resources on teachers who need the most support and can empower effective teachers to take charge of their own professional growth.
This report, issued by the AFT Teacher Preparation Task Force, urged a move toward a systemic approach to preparing teachers and a more rigorous threshold to ensure that every teacher is ready to teach. The report reflects the AFT's continuing efforts to improve the teaching profession, teaching and learning. It complements the work the AFT has been doing to develop and promote comprehensive teacher development and evaluation systems, end the testing fixation, and ensure that educators have the resources, tools, time and trust they need to be successful. (2013)
This guide introduces ten essential "elements" that new teacher evaluation systems might address as they move forward. These snapshots are designed to encourage districts and teams to grapple with questions, explore new ideas and, ultimately, to demonstrate accountability for the performance of their new systems. (Nov. 2012)
The growing number of overseas-educated teachers in U.S. schools has put many talented educators in classrooms, but the trend also has led to a host of concerns about exploitation, questionable hiring practices and harmful effects in the countries that are losing their most qualified teachers. (June 2009)
The average salary for traditional public school teachers increased 4.5 percent in 2006-07 to $51,009, according to the AFT's latest teacher salary survey, marking the first time average teacher pay exceeded $50,000 and the first time since 2003 that teacher salaries surpassed the annual rate of inflation. The AFT report also includes never-before-released salary data for charter school teachers in 29 states-of the 40 that have charter schools-where the news was not as positive. The average charter school teacher salary was $41,106-nearly $10,000 less than that for traditional public school teachers.
Download the full survey or state-by-state fact sheets
The AFT is deeply concerned that not all schools are equally able to attract and retain qualified staff. All children deserve excellent teachers who know their content, how to teach it and how to maximize student learning. This paper puts forth several successful and promising strategies to help solve the school-staffing problem. (June 2007)
This booklet answers questions about AFT’s ER&D program, including information on course offerings and how to start a program in your local. (2007)
This report lays out an expanded vision for the AFT as a professional union. It calls on the AFT to elevate professional issues generally, and professional development specifically, to a more prominent role in the organization and to ensure that assisting members to improve their professional practice is integrated into the core mission of the union. (July 2001, Reprinted Sept. 2007)
The AFT prepared a set of guidelines to help its affiliates review, evaluate, improve, and design professional development programs. Among the central themes the guidelines highlight are the need for professional development that helps teachers gain deep knowledge of the subjects they teach; reflects current research on teaching and learning; is aligned with the curriculum and standards they use; leads teachers to be intellectually engaged with their colleagues; is job-embedded; and provides teachers sufficient time, support, and resources to master new content and pedagogy. (Reprinted Sept. 2008)
This brochure defines a unique professional development called "lesson study." During the lesson study process teachers increase their knowledge of academic content; explore ways to engage students; and observe how students think about what they are learning. (May 2005)
Lesson study is the primary form of professional development for Japanese teachers. Its goal is continual improvement of teaching so that children will learn more. Its primary focus is how students think and learn. This paper defines the lesson study process, includes a question-and-answer section, and provides a list of resources for those interested in learning more about the lesson study approach. (2004)
This booklet contains resolutions on teacher quality issues passed at the 1998, 2000, and 2002 AFT conventions. Also included are a question-and-answer section, background information, and background reading. (June 2003)
This policy brief provides the underlying research-based rationale for the AFT's policy on beginning teacher induction and why induction matters. (September 2001)
This report, from the AFT's K-16 Teacher Education Task Force, calls for more rigorous standards and professional development. The report also finds that teacher education programs must be more closely linked to the teaching profession and more directly involved in the teacher induction activities of local school districts. (April 2000)
This policy brief addresses the need to find programs that will increase the effectiveness of beginning teachers and encourage them to remain in the teaching profession. (September 1998)
Prepared for the AFT/NEA joint conference on teacher quality, this handbook is designed to assist affiliates interested in developing peer assistance and/or peer review programs in their local sites. Highlights include: how to develop support for the program; features that must be addressed in developing a program; and contract language consideration as affiliates negotiate to develop such programs. (1998)