As years go by, numbers in teachers decline and have been for the last 10 years. We are experiencing a national teacher shortage, which comes along with many effects. Certified, qualified teachers are needed to give our current and future children a strong education and unfortunately, with this shortage, staff is struggling, and students are not receiving a full education.
For numerous years, teacher numbers have been declining nationally. As founded on Insider, “The country lost 60,000 jobs in education after the Great Recession of 2008, and state and local education lost 1 million jobs between February and May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The declining numbers of teachers is horrible and needs to be addressed. Numerous schools go understaffed each year, leaving principals teaching classes, and teachers taking extra loads. Many think the teacher shortage is an easy fix, but many factors come into play when looking at the issue as a whole.
One main reason there is a national teacher shortage is due to a decline in enrollment for teacher-ed programs. The National Education Association says, “Since 2010, across the U.S., the number of students enrolled in teacher-prep programs has fallen by a third. As the next generation of teachers goes missing, school districts that used to get 100 to 150 applicants for a teaching job now get one to five.”
Frontline Education researchers uncovered reasoning behind the decline in enrollees, and stated that, “Whether undergraduate students shy away from the low salaries associated with teaching or they perceive that educators are treated unfairly by students, parents, or the community, education schools aren’t attracting as many enrollees as they used to.”
As well as enrollment rates dropping, countless teachers are leaving the profession early. Whether not pursuing a teaching career after college or quitting teaching early, this is another factor that comes into play when considering reduced numbers.
U.S. News states that, “Mirroring the drops in enrollment, researchers also discovered a 28 percent decline in the number of students completing teacher-prep programs… and four states experienced a drop in completions greater than 50%.”
Dislike for the profession or other factors may come into play when leaving the teaching career, but some may not even think about it because of the pay. On average, most schools pay their teachers less than other degree-required careers.
As found on Insider, the number gaps are large, “Teacher get paid nearly 21% less on average than other professions that require a college degree. Thirty years ago, the pay gap was just 2%.” With teaching being such a needed job, it is unfortunate to see teachers getting paid lower when compared to some others.
Even though teaching is such an important but currently scarce job, districts are not getting enough help from “outside sources” which ends up affecting teachers, and the yearn to teach.
Insider also found that, “Public investment in education is lower than it was in 2008 in 29 states, which resulted in many teachers needing to spend hundreds of their own dollars for school supplies. One in six teachers work multiple jobs to make ends meet.”
Most teachers have kindness towards their students and do put their own money into their students and classroom, but that doesn’t mean everybody wants to be doing this causing teaching to be less desirable.
Some may argue that they may have an interest in other careers. Teaching is not made for some, and we aren’t asking everyone to becomes teachers. Therefore, this is a valid response and makes sense for those who want to pursue other passions.
But it is important, that those who may have an interest expose themselves to some sort of teaching. In this case, some may find it is fit for them. With the collaboration of more interest and a better system for teachers, the shortage can be helped.
Teachers and schools can not stop the shortage on their own and need the support from outside sources. Whether community or public funding, schools need more to assist in making teaching a desirable career.
With a push in pay, more respect, and better support, teaching can look more appealing to undergraduate students and those finishing their major. This can help spike an interest for those future educators, stop the teacher shortage, and enforce great educators to stay on the path of teaching.
Akhtar, A. (2020, August 12). The number of Americans training to become teachers hasdropped by a third since 2010, and it’s creating a critical educator shortage that will affect every state. Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/one-third-fewer-people-are-training-to-become-teachers
Buttner, A. (2021, April 19). The teacher shortage, 2021 edition. Frontline Education. https://www.frontlineeducation.com/blog/teacher-shortage-2021/
Camera, L. (2019, December 3). Sharp nationwide enrollment drop in teacher prep programscause for alarm. U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2019-12-03/sharp-nationwide-enrollment-drop-in-teacher-prep-programs-cause-for-alarm
Flannery, M. (2021, August 27). As teacher shortage grows, schools opening without key educators. National Education Association. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/teacher-shortage-grows-schools-opening-without-key-educators