How to Address Teacher Shortages
The Current Landscape
One of the biggest challenges schools and districts are facing this year is the massive teacher shortages. Finding and keeping quality educators post-pandemic has proved to be very difficult for a number of reasons. While this is a pressing issue, progress is being made. Incentives for teachers are being offered in districts nationwide, and new teachers are being hired rapidly. We must take a hard look at the key areas of need in order to determine lasting solutions.
With so many new teachers entering the field, teacher retention is of the utmost importance, as well as preventing teacher burnout. Burnout was cited as one of the number one causes for teachers leaving the workforce during the pandemic. Teachers, especially new teachers, are in need of support in a number of ways. We need to ensure that teachers feel supported in their new roles with adequate staffing, compensation, health, safety, and quality curriculum.
Another challenge teachers faced during the pandemic was inadequate materials. Many schools did not have quality instructional resources and curriculum needed for blended learning. In some cases, schools that were only providing textbook type materials pushed teachers to create their own standards-based curriculums so they could support students at home or in blended learning environments.
While teacher compensation and adequate support and social/emotional learning are larger issues requiring a closer look, the issue of providing quality blended learning instructional materials and resources to teachers is one that should be easily solved.
Schools are also under the microscope in the post-pandemic landscape when it comes to demonstrating how students are achieving academically. There have been drastic declines in student standardized test scores as well as an increase in the overall achievement gap, according to the Department of Education’s recent report. These results have highlighted the need for more quality educational resources that will support students in an equitable fashion. Schools are now focused on intervention and remediation strategies which will provide students with the quality, personalized approach they need in order to support student academic success.
So, how can we begin to address the vast issues that these teacher shortages have brought to light?
First and foremost: adequate teacher compensation.This issue has been addressed by the Biden Administration, and efforts are being made nationwide to attempt to reach a more suitable situation for all teachers. A number of states have successfully implemented legislation to increase pay and benefits and to ensure a living wage for teachers and substitutes. Many teachers’ salary schedules start so low that new teachers are starting out at well below a living wage. Restructuring the way teachers are paid in order to encourage beginning teachers is a necessary step to both inviting teachers into the profession and keeping them there. The most important part of this process is working with teachers and listening to their concerns in order to find meaningful solutions.
Equity and Accessibility
Providing quality, standards-based instructional materials and curriculum to all teachers is an extremely important piece of this puzzle. Especially with many new teachers entering the field, we need to ensure that teachers feel supported by quality tools and resources, which students can access both at home and in the classroom. Providing quality, standards-based materials can also help solve the issue of having other staff, substitutes, and aides running classes while districts work to fill vacancies as it ensures that all students are still receiving the same material. As it also became clear that the groups with the highest educational needs prior to the pandemic continued to suffer disproportionately during it, we must continue to address equity and accessibility to all of our students during this time.
Quality and Consistency
It is critical that teachers are equipped with the standards-based programs and curriculum they need in order to meet their students where they are at and help them to succeed. Educational programs and curriculum that are accessible to students in all learning environments that teachers can easily manage became a huge necessity during the pandemic and has proven to be increasingly important in the post-pandemic landscape as well. It is also clear that in order to bring students back to pre-pandemic levels and support them with their academic challenges, teachers need strong resources which provide adaptive intervention and remediation to their students. Additionally, there is a much stronger focus on tracking student progress through the use of standardized testing results during this time as this data is needed to both identify and address the biggest areas of need for achieving student success. Teachers need these educational supports, tools, and resources provided to them by their districts in order to prioritize student-centered, personalized instruction and the best learning experiences for their students.
Strong educational programs which provide automated grading, personalized skills and study practice for students, individualized intervention and remediation, and provide standards-based questions that provide them for standardized testing are imperative when it comes to supporting districts as they attempt to address teacher shortages as well as supporting their new hires and preventing burnout from existing staff.
Progress Learning supports districts as they address the issues of dealing with teacher shortages, preventing burnout, and ensuring new staff are well equipped with the resources they need to tackle the new challenges that come with teaching in today’s landscape. Progress Learning is a powerful, K-12 solution, providing quality, standards-based content, personalized instruction, intervention, and remediation, that is accessible to students on any device and in all learning environments.
Recently voted one of the Primary winners in Tech & Learning’s Awards of Excellence Program, “The Best Tools for Back to School”. The program featured the most impressive products and solutions to support work in any learning environment as the best edtech tools for back to school in 2022.
Focusing on supporting the new hires in the space, addressing the need for adequate educational tools, as well as holistic and all encompassing support are necessary to the success of the teachers and the students. Supported teachers and students can focus on becoming successful in their roles, rather than looking for support where they do not have it. Once we have the tools and resources in place, we can more effectively address the groups with the highest educational needs, so that all students are accounted for and successful. Progress Learning is dedicated to this end.
Request a demo to learn more about how we can offer solutions and support.