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Teacher Shortage

I can tell everyone right now that the teacher shortage is very real, and we need to resolve it.

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. 

I used to think that the teacher shortage was just another issue that people ignored, but after overlooking what has been causing it, I don’t think that we should ignore it anymore. I didn’t realize how bad it was until it affected my own school and many others. Now it’s affecting kids and staff. I can tell everyone right now that the teacher shortage is very REAL, and we need to resolve it. I can guarantee that I am not the only one thinking about the teacher shortage and working conditions. People throughout the world wonder why there is such a drastic shortage involving teaching jobs. However, not many people stop and think about what is causing it or what to do in order to fix it. It could help to understand the causes of why there are such fewer teachers in many schools. School districts are also struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in many subjects. Men and women go to school everyday to learn and get a good education, although how is it possible without any instructions from an educator? So, what can we do? Schools look for teachers who have the time, the tools, and the trust they need to be most effective. So, they deserve to work in an environment that is more respectful and supportive to them in many ways. Sometimes it might be the reason why half of the new teacher population quit after at least five years into teaching. This kind of issue can affect every parent, child, school district, and community. States have responded quickly by developing and applying new motivation and training programs to attract more teachers to this profession. We believe there is an immense amount that we can all do to ensure more individuals see that this is the most critical and rewarding path they can take. Teachers always come and go throughout schools, but in recent years there are some new reasons for this change. There is no doubt that the main reason why schools do not have enough teachers can be that it deals with personal issues on their part. Ultimately, I believe that teachers in our society do not have jobs due to the lack of respect from students, low paying rates, and large classroom sizes that can be too much for a teacher to handle.

First and foremost, teachers expect to have their students well behaved and respectful towards them in the classroom. Students frequently ridicule their teachers that are trying to help them and occasionally, it makes the teacher feel ashamed of themselves and may be a little embarrassed in front of other students and faculty. For instance, students who do not care how their teachers may react are usually the ones who make snobby remarks, cheat on tests/exams, always disagree with the instructors, and cause trouble with their peers as well. They even show that they are lazy and won’t do any of the work provided to them in class. Consequently, educators scold their students about their laziness and show how ungrateful they are to someone who is trying to educate them to be successful people in their lives and also lead them directly toward the right track of graduating and starting their career paths in the future. Why would teachers want to work somewhere, where they do not feel wanted and appreciated? That’s the big issue we are facing today; there aren't any teachers in our schools. Students might tend to say “You’re a terrible teacher.” or “No one cares about you or school.” It’s not something a teacher would like to hear when they are working during his or her career. But it also doesn’t mean that we need to lose teachers over it, because there are always solutions to each problem. The teachers shouldn’t base their lives on students who may or may not like them. What is most important is the fact that teachers show students how much they care about them no matter what the situation is and help create a more positive and supportive relationship. Modeling this type of behavior as an educator will make sure that the students will follow that same behavior to learn and imitate. Another problem can include students being on their phones all the time, which teachers quite frankly do not like. According to a high school insider, Andrea Lo, students are always on their phones during class and not paying attention to the teacher lecturing (Lo). I would agree that it would frustrate a teacher every day, but there are other resolutions than quitting or even retiring for that matter because they cannot handle their own students. It also may be harder to try and take the phone away from the student, so teachers just have to take the right precautions. They can give them a warning, and if that does not work, they can bring the principal to come to confiscate it, etc. The teachers are supposed to be in charge in the classroom, it shouldn’t be the other way around, and I think that is the reason why teachers don’t teach. They want to feel in control and not have disrespectful students disrupt the instructor or other students while they are trying to learn.

Strangely enough, another reason for the lack of teachers in elementary and high school districts may be because the pay is too low for them. Unlike other professions, most teachers have to pay for their own professional training as well as almost 100 percent of school supplies for their students, out of their own pocket. A recent study shows that teachers sometimes work second jobs just to make ends meet for their own benefits. For example, teachers take more than one job just to pay their bills (Strauss). As a result, it causes them to feel stressed because of the salary and they tend to walk away from the profession because they can’t afford other things that they need outside of school. According to an article in The Washington Post, teachers at Woodson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia, are wearing jeans to work, to protest their low pay and high expectations. It then clarifies that teachers working in Arlington can earn about $7,500 more per year and nearly $7,000 more in Montgomery County (Calegari and Strauss). These teachers are dressing down as a demonstration for better pay. Teachers should never feel the need to prove themselves worthy of their job, whether it's a low paying job or not. Although, an average school teachers salary is $56,000, unlike other careers such as nurses($69,000) or even programmers($83,000), experts have been suggesting that raising the amount can help improve the profession and encourage more high-achieving college students who want to pursue the career in the future (Wong). Money is the real reason college students are not going into the teaching field. The combination of high student debt with low-paying work could definitely explain why so many people choose professions other than teaching. Until teacher salaries are raised and teaching comes to a preferable profession, the teacher shortage is going to have a negative impact on schools and especially their students. A number of states want to raise the salaries for teachers, however, it is still unclear whether the increases will actually do much to solve the drastic teacher shortages.

On the other hand, there could be fewer teachers due to the excessive amount of students in one class. A class size is one of the many important factors to consider in many schools. How much attention do students get when being in a class that’s overcrowded than most? Fewer teachers mean more students in a classroom. The teacher shortage can guarantee larger class sizes, meaning more students to be responsible for and also more homework and classwork assignments to be given and graded. Jill Jenkins, a retired teacher, explains the perspective of an executive director of Parents for Choice in Education, Judi Clark. Clark argues that “it’s not about how many students are in a classroom, it’s about how you’re leveraging technology to deliver one-on-one instruction” (Jenkins). She also addresses the situation with one Language Arts class that contained 62 tenth grade students, and how the teacher had to try and fill all of the desks. Although there were not enough desks to fill every student, a lot of them had to sit along counters or stand the entire class period. So, I believe that the class size does matter and does affect the learning of students and definitely guarantees more teacher shortages over time. Students can be unpredictable and they need the attention given to them. In smaller classes, teachers can give the kids the attention they need to focus more on the task at hand in school. They can also allow them to express themselves. A class needs to be large enough to prove the different personalities of the students and the learning levels in which they stand in. Too large of a classroom sometimes means an increased chance of a more disruptive class, lack of attention, students who don't wish to work, or even have personal difficulties that are preventing their learning progress to go downwards. A teacher named Susanna shares her perspective on how she teaches five classes a day, with 34 students in each classroom. She then proclaims, “That means I teach 170 teenagers a day, Although I try my best, there is absolutely no way I can give those 170 students the attention they need on a daily basis” (SchoolBook). Essentially, this teacher probably has loads of assignments to grade from each of the students in her five classes. She may not have any free time due to the excessive workload.

Across the country, teacher shortages have been the talk for a while. For example, Arizona still has more than 500 vacant teaching positions and Montana has more than 1,100 vacancies (Kramer). There is also forty-nine states that include a shortage of teachers in special education and 90 percent of high-poverty school districts have difficulty attracting highly-qualified teachers in their area (Beard). Linda Darling-Hammond, author of "The Answer To Teacher Shortages: Creating A Sustainable Profession", addresses the problem that many districts cannot find qualified teachers to fill the new positions (Darling-Hammond). Although that may seem accurate, it is irrelevant. The problem is not being able to find any qualified teachers, the problem is finding teachers that are able to handle the disadvantages of becoming an educator. People try to consider teaching a real profession so that others can see and be drawn into it. Also, colleges could be forced to improve the quality of their education and better prepare teachers when entering a classroom and improving the career.

Arizona Department of Education claims, “Over the last five years, thousands of teachers have left the state, causing the past school years to be the worst.” The report warns if teachers keep leaving, “students will not meet their full potential and Arizona will not be able to ensure economic prosperity for its citizens” (Strauss). It is not entirely the teachers' fault that the students are not learning properly because teachers are only leaving due to the number of drawbacks that comes with teaching professions at either elementary, middle or high schools. One solution that some researchers suggest is that people need to focus on hiring new teachers into the workplace, while others believe they should focus more on ways to keep the teachers they have already there, especially those who are working in harder schools (Camera). Some other sources say that communities should take steps to prepare teachers for one of the toughest jobs they may ever commit to and also create environments that can support them and strengthen their teaching development.

Most of our teachers in this world are passionate about the work they do with students, but often get frantic when things start going another route than what they expected. It shouldn’t matter if students in schools are impolite to their instructors, whether it is a low paying job or how many students are in that one classroom. All that should matter is that teachers should love what they do and have the ability to educate many kids around the world as much as they can. As a matter of fact, Judy Levy Pordes, a retired teacher, shares her experiences on many people's reactions when she informs them about what she used to do in her career. Pordes describes, “Teaching is not particularly a well-respected position. I find that when I mention to others, that I recently retired from teaching, the response is a mumbled, 'Oh, that’s nice,' and they move on. No one ever asks any questions about what I did except what I taught. Many people think that someone’s salary is a reflection of his or her status, so teachers, who don’t make much money, are therefore low in terms of respect” (Pordes). She also states that teachers do not get that much respect in the schools either. With all things considered, Judy recognizes that her job means something to her, no matter what people say, or how the school structure is. She and a lot of teachers love what they do and how they change many students' lives. Again, we shouldn’t lose teachers due to the working conditions in schools.

The result of these conditions is that appealing to the teacher education programs that are down 53 percent. Many teachers are usually discouraged by what they find in the profession, such as low pay. We have a teacher shortage, San Francisco alone was looking for 400 teachers this year. Education is a core to assembling healthy societies and economies, but without teachers in many communities, it is holding back the progress of having a good school experience. Across the world, there are at least 74 countries that face an acute shortage of teachers. The results of millions of children being excluded from primary education and beyond (Myers). Not only are there fewer teachers in the United States, currently in Nigeria, they are facing the biggest shortages—part of the West African nation require an additional 380,000 teachers. India is another country that faces approximately 350,000 shortages, while Indonesia needs nearly 190,000 more teachers in the profession. According to the CBS 5 News, “Governor Doug Ducey has been listening and working on a plan to put significant resources in our schools in the face of our budget challenges" (Loew). The goal was to give two billion to the schools as quickly as can be. They are also working closely with the education community to make that transition happen for them. So far, school districts in Arizona have been relying on substitutes that can work long-term just to fill in the teaching positions, that should technically go to the certified teachers instead.

The teaching occupation suffers from constant and relatively high annual turnovers compared to many other occupations. Many industries and organizations take the employee change seriously because of its cost, which is more evident than others. Maybe the best way to discover why employees depart from the job is to ask them about it. According to the book, The Wrong Solution to the Teacher Shortage, many people did a survey suggesting that “Around 39 percent said that they left to pursue a better job or another career, and about 29 percent said that dissatisfaction with teaching as a career or with their specific job was a main reason” (Ingersoll and Smith, 3). The survey asked about 29 percent of people who listed job dissatisfaction as a major reason for leaving the occupation. People could manage a way to improve the teachers’ working conditions that could later contribute to lower rates of new teacher turnovers, which will also enhance the performance of students and staff of schools. The book also states that the loss of new teachers play a major role in the teacher shortages that are going on, but bringing in more teachers into the system will not solve the withholding of the problem. I disagree with that and believe the more teachers we try to find, the better the circumstances will be in our schools. Each classroom will have at least one teacher who can teach and help students learn better. This country is struggling to attract and keep good teachers, and it is not the best time to be facing a major teacher shortage. Any option that can guarantee that the student will get educated and that we have educators that can improve that, will be generally possible. We also need to find solutions where we can get students in college more interested in this particular field, whereas there will be fewer vacancies in schools. Substantially fewer college students are enrolling in teacher education/preparation programs, but those who are appearing to be in it, have known for having higher rated completed. Overall, school boards or any association members of many schools should sustain and take leadership in the role of improving the quality of teaching and administration in our schools and communities. We need the support in the teacher education as well as the development of standards, goals, priorities, and hiring practices.

Above all, there has been a recent rise in the demand for teachers in schools, as well as, teachers leaving the profession. It has been a huge problem in the world. But the fact that teacher shortages aren’t new does not mean they are not important to our society from the past, present, and the future. There are a few reasons that can guarantee a higher teacher shortage, such as impolite students, a decrease in pay, and large classroom sizes. Those who report leaving because of job dissatisfaction cite low salaries, lack of support from school administration, lack of student motivation, student discipline problems, and lack of teacher influence over decision making as factors influencing their decisions (Voke). There is an urgent need for educators, no matter what path they take to this profession. We need to understand the sources of these difficulties and what might be done to resolve them. Schools have been challenged to find educators who are qualified, capable of doing their job well, and who have dedication to this profession. Although, this may be a hard search for teachers, and fixing the problems that are causing fewer teachers to work, it will be well worth it with the help from everyone. This problem is only likely to become worse in the future if we as students, teachers, or other citizens in the community, do not do anything to cease it. Once we acknowledge this, we can then begin searching for solutions for the shortage. Basically, I predict that fixing this solution will guarantee more teachers for every student's need and a better school environment for students who want to get educated in their lives and move on to bigger and better things in the world. 

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Teacher Shortage
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