Severe teacher shortage situation in America right now

The U.S. is facing a severe shortage of teachers at the moment.

Lots of reasons touted for this - the public’s lack of respect for teachers, political/LGBT battles, unsatisfactory pay, etc.

and basically a news story.

And it’s not even new.

I really don’t like the idea of bringing on vets. I can’t wrap my head around why anyone would think being a vet would make you any good at teaching. To be clear, I’m not saying vets can’t be good teachers but I’d feel the same way if they said they were going to bring in police or landscapers or stock brokers to teach. If they’re so short on that they are considering bringing in people with no formal education in teaching, I think the first place I’d look is at college kids that are planning to be teachers.
Maybe there’s a way they could be brought in to help, even though they haven’t finished their own education yet.
Working under the direct supervision of another teacher could help spread the load a bit (think Doctor/PA relationship).

However, I’d be concerned that this would turn into the norm and states might permanently change their rules to require less formal training to churn out more teachers, faster. Then they could (continue to) pay them less and not be concerned about them burning out.

I think the best way to fix the shortage would be to start paying teachers more. A close second would be to stop making them unwilling pawns on the political stage. Of course teachers are going to leave in droves if you tell them they can’t teach certain topics that are universally considered extraordinarily important.

When The Onion nails it, they nail it.

I go back on Monday.

I knew some folks in college back in the 1970s planning to become teachers, and some changed their minds when they saw the challenges of buying a house and raising a family on a teacher’s salary. This was in California, which may have been the worst-case scenario, but I think the problem is nationwide.

Either the public values what teachers do, or they don’t. Private schools charge high tuitions that parents gladly pay rather than send their kids to public schools. The states need to spend more money than they are willing to spend on infrastructure, supplies, and teacher pay. When low-paid teachers spend their money buying basic school supplies, you know something is wrong.

Either the states should pony up the money and sacrifice other public programs, raise property taxes, or get out of the primary education business and let parents pay the cost of sending their kids to a private school, and for the parents who can’t afford private school, provide tuition assistance on a sliding scale.

Here in Texas, this issue is starting to get a ton of publicity. Every major school district in the state seems to be trying to find new teachers. A number of them actually pay pretty well, but there are other factors that are driving away people who might otherwise be good for the job. Burnout, discrimination against people who achieved accreditation without majoring in Education in college, harassment by parents, etc.

This is somewhat grimly ironic in the case of my family. My mother majored in Education when she was in college, but at the time of her graduation (mid-1970s), the situation was the exact opposite: there was a glut of elementary teachers and she was unable to ever find work in the field.

There’s a quote from the article that’s almost like satire:

Are you freaking kidding me? A calendar isn’t an enticement, it’s work equipment. An enticement is things like, “Hey, guess what, we’re giving you pay commensurate with your skills and labor.” Unless that’s the surprise, forget it.

Two more teachers resigned from my school this week. In our school’s office, the staff include a principal, an assistant principal, a data manager, a secretary/bookkeeper, and a guidance counselor. The only office staff who didn’t resign last year is the secretary; everyone else is new.

All the warnings that we gave last year, about how we were in crisis and about how we needed more staff and more pay? They got ignored, we got told that our administrators were mismanaging funds and that we couldn’t get new funds until they were sorted out. So here we are.

Buckle up.

My experiences at schools (both public and charter) as a substitute teacher and in administration, tells me that it would be a good idea to have one teacher at hand with an assistant like that (military or not), or two in training teachers per classroom.

Main reason is that a lot of the shitty stuff happens when some monsters figure out that they can abuse the he/she said, he/she said situations and incidents. The point IMHO is that there should be something like that to prevent situations that end careers or affect the mental well-being of teachers and even students that have to see how easy is for bullies to interrupt a classroom, things like that happens, no matter how much training a teacher gets to deal with situations like that when teaching alone.

That’s one I never understood. I can, a little bit, understand spending your own money to decorate your classroom, but I don’t like it. However, teachers really shouldn’t be buying supplies required for teaching. Personally, I’d love to see all the required stuff given to them (as it would be in any other job) and perhaps some sort of annual allowance for extra stuff (ie decorations, snacks etc).

What I’d love to see is for all teachers to collectively stop doing that. People don’t realize how underfunded schools are when teachers are making up the balance out of their own pocket. They can post all day long about how much they spend each month on supplies, but they’ll make a much stronger point when kids are telling their parents that they don’t remember half of what they were taught because the teacher didn’t have any dry erase markers. Pissed off parents will happily take their anger out on the school board and maybe they’ll start getting some of the funding required for teaching.

My aunt dealt with something like that. To make a long story short, she wanted to transfer from one school to another, district policy stated that she should have been given the job over the other applicant, but they gave it to the other person anyway (other person had no education or training in special ed and it was a special ed class. My aunt also had about 25 years worth of seniority over the other teacher).
On top of that, the union wouldn’t back her up on it so she left the union, which had a lot of other teachers angry at her.
In the end it worked out. Over the course of the next two years, she took something like 6 months worth of vacation and sick pay, got two surgeries done that she was putting off (while she was still under their insurance) and then retired early.

This is actually on the ballot here in Arkansas, where the Democrats are lobbying to increase teacher pay, using a budgetary surplus.

But it’s pitched as saying that all the teachers will go off to other states where they can get more money. So it seems like Arkansas is just trying for parity.

@Joey_P The problem with telling teachers not to buy supplies is that they then don’t have the supplies they need to teach. And teaching is why they are there. It’s why they put up with being forced to go to school during the pandemic, or trying to figure things out for distance learning. It’s why they’re now buying the kits the military uses to treat gunshot wounds.

It’s just what teachers do.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that a lot of pissed-off parents would instead take their anger out on the teachers (“incompetent dumbass trying to teach my kid verbally without even writing anything on the board”), whose performance reviews or equivalent assessment would suffer as a result.

It’s going to take a while for America as a whole to figure out that they can’t just thoughtlessly lay all the blame for the US education crisis on “lazy”, “woke”, “those who can’t do, teach”, “dumb” teachers.

My god, that plan is just crazy enough to work!

In my not at all thought out suggestion, I was imagining a teacher in training and a full time teacher. Each takes one class, but they switch throughout the day (or every other day/week). That should help the full time teacher keep tabs on the trainee as well as the students. Plus, whenever possible, the classrooms could by next to each other so if the trainee needs help, the full time teacher is practically within earshot. To make it even more complex, I’d like to see two teachers in training alternate so they each end up with 2-3 days off per week and have time to finish their own education.

My aunt (that I mentioned in my previous post) tended to take jobs at the schools in the ‘bad neighborhoods’. The stories she would tell were appalling. She’s was threatened with a gun way back in the beginning of her career. She’s been punched twice. At one point, due to a policy change that only allowed a student to be held back twice, she was essentially just a babysitter. The kids that had already been held back multiple times quickly realized they had nothing to lose no matter how they acted.

That’s the point.
What you’re saying is no different then telling a factory worker it’s pointless to go on strike because then they won’t get paid, which is the reason they’re at the factory in the first place.
The teachers have been telling the world, for as long as I can remember, that they spend a ton of their own money. They clearly haven’t been taken seriously. Now it’s time to step it up. Show all those people what happens when they decide they’d rather just keep all the money they worked for.

Agreed, but the bigger problem is that they’re being exploited for it. At this point it’s less ‘what they do’ and more ‘what they’re expected to do’.

The reason I don’t think my suggestion would work in the first place is because those teachers will get fired and new ones that are will to play ball will replace them. It’s an all or none suggestion.

Yes, that would be a problem, but like I was saying it would have to be all or none. Also, I can only hope that enough news stories and other parents and students would understand the real reasons so the other ones get drowned out.

But just to be clear, I’m fully aware this almost certainly wouldn’t work since it’s all or nothing. OTOH, I’m amazed that people have managed to avoid low paying jobs for long enough that wages have been skyrocketing over the last year or two.

Except the whole point of this thread is that the schools can’t find enough teachers. If this isn’t the moment to try Work to Rule, you might as well just give up and accept a life of poverty.

The bill in Florida requires vets to have a two-year degree and at least four years active duty, and they have to pass a subject area exam. I don’t see that as much different than telling a 22-year-old with a four-year-degree that they can teach so long as they pass a subject area exam and get started on their certification.

The problem isn’t that the vets are unqualified. The problem is that it’s already super duper easy to get a job in a classroom and districts still can’t get teachers.The problem is that vets aren’t magical superheroes who are going to enter a workforce with unbelievably high turnover rates in new hires and thrive. They’re going to experience the same frustrations as everybody else. The subject area tests aren’t difficult. Credentialing isn’t difficult. Teaching is difficult.

It’s just political theater - a way that Desantis can look like he’s doing something about the school problem while also having an opportunity to go “ra ra soldiers are great!” But it won’t make a dent in the actual issues at play.

My concern re: vets is how incredibly different the military disciplinary model is from the public education model.

The military is a volunteer force of adults who must unhesitatingly follow orders or else their friends might die. Discipline is fairly strict, up to and including prison time for insubordination. (Vets, correct me if I’m wrong)

Public schools serve a compulsory force of children who are learning how to think critically and participate in society. Discipline is much more based on teaching children pro-social behaviors and nurturing them, while keeping everyone safe and making a learning environment possible.

I’m really worried about veterans coming into a school setting and expecting military discipline. This isn’t a casual worry: as a child, I had a PE teacher who was ex-military, and he was a goddamned nightmare. I remember the time he made the entire class line up and face a wall, silently, for the entire class period, because he was so frustrated at children talking when he expected silence. That might have been appropriate military behavior, but it was pisspoor classroom management.

It’s a valid concern on an individual classroom level (especially if your own kid is being taught by an iron-fist disciplinarian), but not one I’m worried about as a systemic issue. There are already plenty of veterans who could become teachers any time they want and they’re not exactly flooding into the classroom - especially when cushier state-funded jobs often give hiring preference to vets. Expanding the pool of veterans who are theoretically qualified to teach isn’t going to dramatically increase the number who actually begin a career in education.

If I’m dead wrong, time will prove it.

School librarian here. What has gotten to me the past few years is the lack of subs. I couldn’t tell you the last time we had an actual sub in the building. That means that when a classroom teacher or preschool assistant is out the librarian, reading specialist, guidance counselor, school psychologist, ect. gets shifted. I get to see the classes I have scheduled on those days, but students who need help with research or selecting a book are out of luck. With the pandemic we had teachers who had Covid or had children with Covid. Three more years and I can retire; that’s what I tell myself.

I know a lot of teachers. My wife was an elementary teacher for many years. I don’t know a single one who isn’t seriously thinking about quitting.

The main problem isn’t the pay. While it could certainly be better, it’s not terrible, at least around here.

The main problem is the lack of respect. Teachers are being vilified on all sides nowadays: From politicians, from parents, even from the school administration. I mean if you take a job that everyone agrees is necessary for society the least you can expect is not to be hated.

I see this effect even in my own work history. I’ve worked in the private sector most of my career. In one job, I felt I was totally respected, from my immediate supervisor all the way to the top. I stayed at that company for 17 years. At another company I felt disrespected. I left after a year. The pay was essentially the same at both.

That 22-year-old’s four-year degree will be for teaching, specifically. Usually focused on a particular subject or age level. It’s very much different than a two-year high school-plus general studies program.