The Influence of Teachers Goes Deeper Than We Ever Thought, and the Research Proves It

It’s hard to measure where your impact stops.

Teacher Influence Strong for Gen Z
3d rendering of a water splash with ripple shaped as a heart.

When you’re in the trenches of teaching and classroom life, it can be difficult to measure what impact you are making beyond that of your own head hitting the pillow after another long and exhausting day. Of course, sometimes you receive a well-timed thank-you note or a visit from a former student, but to be honest those acknowledgements can be few and far between. A new research study, however, shows that we may actually make a bigger difference than we ever thought, especially when it comes to students’ career paths, favorite subject areas, and majors.

The report “The Gen Z Influence Meter” surveyed 500 13- to 22-year-olds on which group has the most influence over various aspects of their lives, including peers, parents, and teachers. And while you might think peers would reign supreme in this Snapchat-obsessed age group, the report showed that trusted adults actually play a big role in helping teens make some pretty important decisions.

So the next time you are faced with a group of rowdy middle schoolers and are contemplating threatening to take away their phones again, remember that:

Gen Z ranked teachers as their #1 influencers when it comes to career path, favorite subject areas, and major.

This was even more true for students in households with yearly incomes under $125,000.

Teachers are especially important in nurturing students’ interest in STEM.

Know a budding scientist, mathematician, or engineer? Your interest could make all the difference, especially in those crucial middle school years.

When it comes to academics and study habits, teens listen to their teachers and parents more than their peers.

This can be hard to remember when it seems like your students only care about what their friends think, but remember that your words and actions do make a difference. As one survey respondent put it, “A teacher inspired me to stop settling for good and find the drive to be excellent.”

Is someone chopping onions in this room, or is it just us? 😭 You can save and print the full report here, if you’re curious.

In the meantime, we’d love to hear: What’s the best acknowledgement of your impact you’ve ever received? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook. 

The Influence of Teachers Goes Deeper Than We Ever Thought, and the Research Proves It