Student Today Teacher Tomorrow

Are you ready to join the next generation of Alaska teachers?

NEA-Alaska represents more than 12,000 Alaskans who work as teachers and education support professionals in public schools across the state. We'd love to help you take steps toward a career as an educator.

Alaska needs more teachers. We especially need more teachers who are Alaska Native or people of color. All students benefit when teachers reflect the diversity of our communities.

There are many ways to become a teacher, and it is never too early to start finding your path to becoming an educator. One of the best ways to do this is to reach out to a teacher working in your school or community. Let them know you're thinking about becoming a teacher and discuss what you can be doing now to prepare for a career in education.

Alaska teachers know that students today become teachers tomorrow, and we're here to help you find your path to becoming an educator.

Connect with an educator

For a local from the community to become a teacher, the students already know you.
- Glenn Charlie
  Napakiak, AK

A Student's Guide

At NEA we get thousands of letters, from eighth-graders up to recent college graduates, asking about teaching as a career. Here are some of the answers we've developed for the most common questions people have about preparing to become a teacher.

What do teachers do?

Along with teaching classes, all teachers prepare lesson plans, grade tests, talk with parents and attend school meetings. Some school teachers have specialty areas such as music, art, or physical education, and teach only that subject. Often, teachers supervise after-school activities such as school plays, athletics, and school newspapers.

What are working conditions like for teachers?

Through the advocacy of the local NEA affiliates, school districts are recognizing that the way to keep good teachers is to make the conditions for teaching and learning attractive - smaller class sizes, adequate attractive classrooms, and sufficient supplies and materials to assist learning. States are also providing teachers with more opportunities to attend classes to improve their teaching skills and to learn about using new technologies in the classroom.

Are teachers paid well?

Alaska teachers are frequently among the highest compensated in the United States. The average teacher salary in 2019 was roughly $71,000. Compensation varies depending on which district you teach in and what the collective bargaining agreement states for salary and benefits. Every school district in Alaska negotiates the salaries of their employees with their union counterparts and those contracts are typically available on district websites. If you have questions about a specific district, please contact NEA-Alaska.

Will I make a difference as a teacher?

Never has teaching been so important. We need an educated workforce if America is to remain an economic leader and overcome the setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We need good teachers who will be able to help people learn so they can work in exciting new technologies. Teaching is challenging. It isn't easy to make lessons interesting, inspire learning, help students cope or discipline students. Few careers offer such opportunities for making a difference or for having a positive impact on the lives of others.

What is a teacher's day like?

Many teachers say that no two days are exactly alike and that makes their careers exciting. Teaching calls on a variety of talent - knowing the subject, communicating, listening, understanding, making decisions, helping others. It offers unlimited outlets for using your special talents. Being a teacher these days doesn't mean sticking with third grade or high school chemistry for an entire career. New career opportunities - from preschool through adult education - are emerging.

How flexible is teaching?

Teachers enjoy flexible work schedules with breaks for holidays and summer - valuable time to grow professionally or to relax and recharge. In the classroom, teachers are gaining influence over decisions about coursework and textbooks and are expanding opportunities for creativity.

Is there a shortage of teachers in some areas?

In Alaska, rural districts almost always have a high need for teachers. The geography and climates make these locations among the most unique teaching opportunities in the country, but they are not without their challenges. These positions tend to offer greater compensation and benefits to help attract and retain qualified teachers. Alaska Native educators and educators of color are also in high demand in Alaska communities.

Teaching culture and language helps our community come back to what we once were, coming back to being who we are as a people and be able to thrive.
- David Nelson
  Metlakatla, AK

Contact Hedy Eischeid