Hallsville Intermediate School in Hallsville, Mo. The superintendent of the school district there said the pool of qualified teaching applicants has all but dried up in recent years.Credit...Whitney Curtis for The New York Times
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The new fall semester has just begun in Mesa, Ariz., and Westwood High School is short on math teachers.
A public school that serves more than 3,000 students in the populous desert city east of Phoenix, Westwood still has three unfilled positions in that subject. The principal, Christopher Gilmore, has never started the year there with so many math positions open.
“It’s a little bit unnerving,” he said, “going into a school year knowing that we don’t have a full staff.”
Westwood, where most students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, is one of many public schools across the United States that are opening their doors with fewer teachers than they had hoped for. According to one national survey by Education Week, nearly three-fourths of principals and district officials said this summer that the number of teaching applicants was not enough to fill their open positions. Other surveys released this year have suggested that parents are deeply concerned about staffing and that many more teachers are eyeing the exits.
But while the pandemic has created an urgent search for teachers in some areas, not every district is suffering from shortages. The need for teachers is driven by a complicated interplay of demand and supply in a tight job market. Salary matters, and so does location: Well-paying suburban schools can usually attract more candidates.
If anything, experts say, the recent pandemic turmoil can be expected to worsen old inequities.
“It’s complex, and it does go back before the pandemic,” said Desiree Carver-Thomas, an analyst with the Learning Policy Institute. “Schools serving more students of color and students from low-income families bear the brunt of teacher shortages, oftentimes.”
For many years, it has also been particularly hard to find teachers for subjects like math and special education, or to fill spots at rural schools. And there has always been a dire need for more teachers of color in the United States. According to federal data collected during the school year ending in 2018, nearly 80 percent of public schoolteachers were white. Most of their students were not.
In Arizona, where starting salaries for teachers are lower than the national average, the shortages are “severe” across the board, said Justin Wing, an assistant superintendent of human resources for Mesa Public Schools, the district where Mr. Gilmore works.
“I feel like it’s been that way for probably at least 10 years,” said Mr. Wing, who is also an analyst for the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association. But this year, he added, seems even worse.
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He attributes the problem in part to low pay, and he has watched districts in neighboring states, like Texas and Nevada, rub salt in the wound by advertising their teaching salaries on social media and on billboards along Arizona highways.
According to Mr. Wing’s data from the last school year, nearly four-fifths of teaching positions (measured in terms of full-time equivalencies) in Arizona schools had to be covered in less-than-ideal ways — by support staff, for example, or teachers in training.
And nearly one-third of positions remained vacant altogether, which often meant that existing teachers had to take on more classes.
The challenge for struggling districts is to cover positions in a way that not only fills seats but also serves students, said Tequilla Brownie, the chief executive of TNTP, a nonprofit that provides consulting services for districts on staffing and student achievement.
“Everybody right now is just talking about, frankly, warm bodies,” she said. “The quality of teachers still matters. You never will get to quality if you don’t get to quantity first.”
Over the past two years, several states including New Mexico, Florida, Alabama and Mississippi have tried to address or pre-empt shortages by raising teacher salaries.
Others have loosened certification requirements. In Arizona, a new law makes it easier for aspiring teachers without bachelor’s degrees to gain work experience in the classroom. In Florida, where state officials last year reported more than 4,000 teacher vacancies, some military veterans can be granted temporary teaching certificates.
And in some rural districts, where raises may be out of reach, school officials are putting entire school days on the chopping block.
In Missouri, where teachers receive among the lowest salaries on average in the country, John Downs, the superintendent of the rural Hallsville School District, said that the pool of qualified applicants has all but dried up in recent years. A few days before the start of the school year, positions in speech language pathology and math were still unfilled.
This year, Hallsville schools are trying to entice educators with a four-day workweek. “We’re competing against more affluent districts who can offer more lucrative salary benefit packages,” Mr. Downs said. “So we decided we needed to think outside of the box.”
Hallsville is not alone. In Missouri, 25 percent of all districts will be on a four-day schedule this fall. The condensed week is common in New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Idaho and South Dakota, and is beginning to emerge in other states like Texas.
Even before the pandemic, the number of schools on the four-day model grew to more than 1,600 in 2019 from 257 schools in 1999, according to national data compiled by Paul Thompson, an associate professor of economics at Oregon State University.
“As a smaller district, we just could not compete monetarily” with larger districts, said Kate Wright, a parent of two children in elementary and middle school, who hoped Hallsville’s new schedule would draw strong applicants. “It’s kind of hard to expect a teacher to want to drive out to Hallsville for less pay.”
It remains unclear how the four-day model — which has longer school days but shorter weeks — affects learning. While children and families may benefit from the flexibility of a three-day weekend,some research suggeststhat student achievement can suffer if the total number of instructional hours significantly drops.
Shauna Woods, a third-grade teacher in Hallsville, said educators were looking forward to Mondays off — especially on the heels of two challenging years helping students navigate the pandemic. In anticipation of the change, she said, “the one thing that teachers kept talking about in my district was, ‘It won’t be like this next year. It will be better next year.’”
While the shortages in many districts are alarming, said Kim A. Anderson, the executive director of the National Education Association, the news has not been all bad.
“We are, in fact, making progress with respect to the educator shortage,” she said, adding that increased funding from districts, as well as the American Rescue Plan, passed by Congress in March 2021, were helping to turn the tide.
In Virginia, where starting salaries for teachers tend to be higher than the national average, Prince William County Public Schools, one of the state’s largest districts, offers more than $53,000 to new teachers with bachelor’s degrees. Teachers with experience or graduate degrees can make tens of thousands more.
Lisa Harris, an algebra teacher in the district’s Patriot High School in Nokesville, said she had been teaching for 22 years and has never wanted to leave the profession. “As far as teacher shortages, of course I see the news,” she said. “You hear it nationally. I know of it. But honestly, at Prince William County Schools, I don’t see a lot of that.”
In fact, many schools in Prince William County saw just the opposite. For the current school year, which began on Aug. 22, the district created hundreds of new positions for teachers and teaching assistants compared with last year.
All year round, administrators keep an eye out for potential applicants — especially those with certifications in math, science, special education and multilingual education.
“This is a joke among those of us that work in H.R.,” said Michelle Colbert, who works in human resources at the district. “When you go to a college fair, and you see one math candidate, then it’s like every person in the room is making their way to that candidate.”
In fact, in some districts, teacher vacancies can be attributed not only to turnover but also to the creation of new positions, said Richard Ingersoll, an expert on education staffing with the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
That can skew perceptions of shortages, especially in the context of long-term trends. The total number of people working in public education has mostly grown for about a decade, federal data show, partly in recovery from widespread losses after the 2008 recession. And the number of teachers has grown faster than the number of students, Dr. Ingersoll’s research has found. (That may continue. Student enrollment slumped during the pandemic, and it may continue to shrink in coming years because of demographic changes.)
But in places with chronically low pay, the pandemic has only worsened teachers’ feelings of being undervalued, said Brent Maddin, who leads the Next Education Workforce initiative for teachers at Arizona State University. “If we’re serious about recruiting people into the profession, and retaining people in the profession, in addition to things like compensation we need to be focused on the working conditions,” he said.
As the fall semester begins, principals like Mr. Gilmore in Mesa are focused not only on filling open positions, but also on keeping the educators they have. Westwood could use three more math teachers, but 23 of them are already there, introducing students to the basics of algebra, geometry and trigonometry.
Mr. Gilmore has also been working with Dr. Maddin at Arizona State to implement a teaching model where educators with different skills work together to teach larger groups of students. The program, Mr. Gilmore said, allows student teachers — potential future applicants — to gain experience at the school, and it may also help experienced educators feel less isolated in the classroom.
“I think the pandemic just brought exhaustion to an already stressed field,” Mr. Gilmore said. “And when we bring that joy of teaching back, the students will have the joy of learning.”
Audio produced by Adrienne Hurst.
Continue reading the main story
In August, the Economic Policy Institute released data that found teachers make about 23% less in their profession than “comparable college graduates” in other fields. This low pay, combined with teaching during a pandemic and other stressors, has caused many teachers to resign.Is there a teacher shortage around the world? ›
Worldwide, 69 million teachers are needed to reach universal basic education by 2030. The largest deficit is in sub-Saharan Africa. Lack of training, unattractive working conditions and inadequate funding all undermine the teaching profession and aggravate the global learning crisis.Where is the highest teacher shortage? ›
Mississippi saw the highest teacher-to-student vacancy rate in the 2021-22 school year. The state reported having nearly 69 missing teachers per 10,000 students. In comparison, Utah had less than one missing teacher per 10,000 students.What does teacher mean in how do you survive? ›
- Address the Behavior with the Teacher. ...
- Get Administration Involved. ...
- Learn to Properly Express Your Own Feelings. ...
- Remove Yourself from the Situation. ...
- Don't Let Go of Your Own Positivity.
Increase Funding for Teachers and Schools
Federal or state grants might draw more prospective teachers to preparation programs in academic areas where there is a scarcity of teachers. Federal programs for college loan forgiveness might encourage more teachers to look for jobs in high-needs schools.
Teacher shortages can significantly depress student achievement, as schools often cancel courses due to vacancies or staff classes with substitutes and underprepared teachers who are not certified to teach their subject matter.Why are people leaving teaching? ›
The tension and responsibility that educators like Gillum faced during the pandemic — combined with long-standing issues plaguing the profession, plus the coarsening of debates about classroom control, teacher pay and respect — have caused many to make the tough choice to leave the classroom.Why do we need more teachers? ›
Knowledge and education are the basis for all things that can be accomplished in life. Teachers provide the power of education to today's youth, thereby giving them the possibility for a better future. Teachers simplify the complex, and make abstract concepts accessible to students.Why are there still shortages? ›
It's because of labor shortages and supply-chain issues, from food manufacturers to grocery stores. There simply aren't enough people to “make the goods, move the goods and sell the goods,” says Jim Dudlicek, a representative for the National Grocers Association.Which teachers are most in demand? ›
- English as a Second Language (ESL). ESL educators are some of the most in demand teachers. ...
- Math Teaching. Another teacher subject in demand is mathematics. ...
- Science Teaching. What about science teachers? ...
- Social Studies Teaching. ...
- Special Education Teaching.
Of the nine states where vacancy rates are highest, Mississippi faced the highest vacancy rates, with 68 missing teachers per 10,000 students for the 2021-22 school year. In contrast, Utah's vacancy rate was less than 1 per 10,000 students.How much do teachers get paid? ›
|State||Average Starting Salary|
|State Alabama||Average Starting Salary $38,477|
|State Alaska||Average Starting Salary $46,785|
|State Arizona||Average Starting Salary $34,068|
|State Arkansas||Average Starting Salary $33,973|
- Pedagogical learning.
- Continuous learning.
Smile and nod.
If you are irritated, this is probably the last thing that you feel like doing, but your teacher will not respond well to arguing, yelling, screaming, or insults. Just be polite, smile, and agree. This will get the teacher off of your back, and it will make life easier for you.
Sample 1. Teacher shortage area . ' means a subject area designated by the commissioner of education as a having a shortage of certified teachers in the previous school year and a projected shortage in the current school year.What will happen if the schools do not have enough facilities? ›
Firstly, a lack of facilities limits the ability of a student to achieve various learning and extra curricula activities. Secondly, a lack of facilities has a negative impact on a teachers' job satisfaction, which undermines their motivation to teach.Which country has a shortage of teachers? ›
What Countries Need More Teachers and How Much Can You Make?
|Rank||Country||Teacher:Pupil Ratio (1:)|
People overwhelmingly said that great teachers make their students feel safe and loved, believe in their students, model patience, and help their students reach their full potential—all qualities that remain largely unmeasured. And students' long-term success is often less about academics than behavior.How does lack of resources affect teaching and learning? ›
The lack of resources in classrooms can cause extreme distress on the students and teachers. Not only are the students and teachers in distress, but they are unable to learn to their fullest potential because they are not being given the proper resources.What states have a shortage of teachers? ›
Florida leads the nation with nearly 4,000 unfilled teaching positions for the 2021–22 school year, followed by Illinois with 1,703 and Arizona with 1,699.
This means that someone who enters teaching before age 25 with a bachelor's and accumulates 30 or more years of service can usually retire sometime between age 55 and 60. In most states teachers are eligible for retirement without penalty once they turn 60 even with less than 30 years of service.Is teaching a hard job? ›
Teaching is definitely a tough, misunderstood job. Maybe it's because we all went to school (see reason No. 2) or perhaps it has to do with the way teaching has been depicted in movies, but for some reason lots of folks underestimate the difficulty of being a teacher.What do teachers do after they quit? ›
- Childcare Worker. ...
- Sales Representative. ...
- Financial Advisor. ...
- Freelance Writer. ...
- Corporate Trainer. ...
- Tour Guide. ...
- Human Resource Specialist. ...
- Digital Marketer.
A whopping 60% of teachers expressed they were stressed out. Many educators are considering leaving for the first time ever or have already left the profession altogether due to stress. Teachers work longer hours than many other positions, which often leads to burnout and stress.How large is the teacher shortage? ›
Nowhere close to enough. Schools are facing a shortage of 300,000 teachers and staff across the U.S., according to the National Education Association, the country's largest teachers union. State and local leaders are scrambling to find creative ways to address the problem.Why is it so hard to be a teacher? ›
Teaching is arguably harder now than ever before for many reasons, including student behavior, rapidly changing technology, and low pay. This article will explore several of the reasons that teaching has become such a challenging profession. Student behavior can be a serious problem for teachers at some schools.Why is there a shortage of 2022? ›
In 2021, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, global supply chains and shipments slowed, causing worldwide shortages and affecting consumer patterns.Should I be stocking up on food 2022? ›
Prepping is the only way to protect yourself from shortages in 2022, as well as preparing for inflation. With products already in short supply, January is the time to start stocking up before the shelves are empty.What is there a shortage of right now 2022? ›
- Groceries and Food. Empty shelves are becoming common in groceries across North America and Europe. ...
- Aluminum. One of the main reasons canned goods are harder to find in stores is the tight supply of aluminum, which is a major component in the manufacture of cans. ...
- Semiconductors. ...
Professor. When you are looking for the best-paid teaching jobs for your area of interest or specialized skill, then you may consider working as a professor in a college or university. A college professor prepares course material, teaches students in a classroom environment, and grades student work.
|Rank||State||Average Teacher Salary|
Is teaching a good career choice? Again – yes! Whether you get into teaching for a few years or a lifelong career, it's a respected profession that is sure to enhance your professional skills in many ways. Firstly, you'll build skills such as organization, motivating others, coaching, creativity and public speaking.Why is teacher burnout so high? ›
More than half of teachers in 2022 said their time for planning was significantly impacted due to staff shortages and a host of other reasons. If teachers don't have planning time at school, they have to make up for it at home, encroaching on their work-life balance, which can contribute to burnout.Are more teachers leaving the profession? ›
Across the nation, teachers are leaving the profession. The pandemic and shifting political landscape have left teachers feeling overworked and undervalued. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, K-12 teachers report the highest burnout rate of all U.S. professions.Why are teachers quitting in Texas? ›
Teachers point to low pay, lack of respect from both the community and elected officials, excessive workloads and pandemic school disruptions as reasons they want to leave. In the classroom, about 98% of respondents say they have to buy their own supplies, with the median cost being about $500.Can you survive on a teacher salary? ›
Living on a teacher salary is more than possible and it doesn't necessarily mean you can't have any fun. As long as you know what money is coming in monthly, what needs to go out to bills monthly, and use what's left responsibly, you will not have to stress about money (as much).How much do teachers make an hour? ›
The average hourly wage for a Public School Teacher in the United States is $27 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $22 and $33.Do teachers get paid during summer break? ›
Many people think teachers get a paid two-month vacation every summer, but that is a myth. As you'll see further down, not only do they not get paid during the summer, teachers are expected to do a lot of unpaid work during the summer and other breaks to prepare for being in the classroom.Why are teachers leaving the profession 2022? ›
The tension and responsibility that educators like Gillum faced during the pandemic — combined with long-standing issues plaguing the profession, plus the coarsening of debates about classroom control, teacher pay and respect — have caused many to make the tough choice to leave the classroom.What is Biden doing about the teacher shortage? ›
The Biden administration has unveiled a three-point plan to address teacher shortages: partner with recruitment firms to find new potential applicants, subsidize other prospective teachers' training, and pay them more so they'll stay.
Preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows about 270,000 fewer school employees in July 2022 than there were in January 2020. While the data isn't broken down by specific job type, it includes teachers, administrators, librarians and other employees who work at schools outside of the classroom.Why are there so little teachers? ›
According to research by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the teacher shortage could reach 200,000 by 2025, up from 110,000 in 2018. This shortage of workers is due to a number of factors. Among them are pay, working conditions, lack of support, lack of autonomy, and the changing curriculum.What age do most teachers retire? ›
This means that someone who enters teaching before age 25 with a bachelor's and accumulates 30 or more years of service can usually retire sometime between age 55 and 60. In most states teachers are eligible for retirement without penalty once they turn 60 even with less than 30 years of service.Why are teachers so poorly paid? ›
A number of factors contribute to how far a teacher's salary goes—family structure, caregiving responsibilities, health issues, and student loans among them. While many teachers in the U.S. must work second jobs to live comfortably, plenty do not. Some of them live in states that pay better than others.Why is teacher burnout so high? ›
More than half of teachers in 2022 said their time for planning was significantly impacted due to staff shortages and a host of other reasons. If teachers don't have planning time at school, they have to make up for it at home, encroaching on their work-life balance, which can contribute to burnout.How many teachers are leaving the profession? ›
In a typical year, about 8 percent of teachers leave, but this year saw more teachers leave in the middle of the school year than normal.Is there a demand for teachers? ›
The nationwide teacher shortage is hitting London hard. Secondary school places are set to increase further over the next five years, meaning we need more schools, headteachers and teachers.How many teachers are in the United States? ›
The projected number of teachers nationwide for 2021 was 3,684,000, with 3,197,000 at public schools and 488 at private schools. This would allow for a student to teacher ratio of 15.3 on average, which breaks down to 15.8 at public schools and a ratio of 11.7 at private schools.How bad is the teacher shortage what two new studies say? ›
With all this data, the researchers estimate that there are more than 36,500 teacher vacancies in the nation. They also estimate that there are more than 163,500 positions filled by teachers who aren't fully certified or are not certified in the subject area they're teaching.Why teachers leaving the profession? ›
Teachers often cite working conditions, such as the support of their principals and the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues, as the top reason for leaving. More than 1 in 4 teachers who leave say they do so to pursue other career opportunities.
It's because of labor shortages and supply-chain issues, from food manufacturers to grocery stores. There simply aren't enough people to “make the goods, move the goods and sell the goods,” says Jim Dudlicek, a representative for the National Grocers Association.How much do teachers get paid? ›
|State||Average Starting Salary|
|State Alabama||Average Starting Salary $38,477|
|State Alaska||Average Starting Salary $46,785|
|State Arizona||Average Starting Salary $34,068|
|State Arkansas||Average Starting Salary $33,973|
Overall, more than 44 percent of new teachers leave the profession within five years.Why should teachers get paid more? ›
Higher Pay for Teachers Means Students Do Better
Students do better when teachers are compensated more. According to one study, a 10% increase in teacher salary would result in a 5–10% improvement in student performance. Students also gain long-term advantages from teacher compensation.