National Teacher Shortage is Real and it is Growing


“Empty Classroom” by Max Klingensmith is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Pascalis Hartofilis, Writer

Recently, the number of teachers actively teaching is dropping at an alarming rate of 30% of teachers planning to retire early because of COVID-19 alone.

As a result of the recent drop in teacher’s schools are understaffed and that hinders the education of students.

“I have not known about much (About the shortage), other than because of COVID teachers were leaving, but I have heard of it occasionally on the news and would sometimes tune in on it because it was a little interesting,” senior, Jonathan Polohronakis said.

It is hard for people to understand the severity of the shortage of teachers. COVID increased the number of teachers retiring early by 30%. This is because COVID-19 has become a severe global problem, since it is such a big problem many people are trying to solve any COVID related problems now including the teacher shortage. However, that does not change how bad the effects of this shortage are. In most places there is usually just 1 teacher teaching that subject for example Geometry, and then that teacher leaves for any specific reason there is no temporary replacement for them and that would affect a student’s education for however long their gone for.

“In some of the schools I have been in I used to not like this one teacher I had but it was an elective and that teacher kind of owned that whole subject and that was not going to be a fun year for me so I switched out of that subject because there were not any teachers for that class, I just realized that was probably because of a shortage at that school if that was the case then it must be pretty severe,” junior, Matthew Khandrava stated.

If the shortage of teachers gets any worse there is the possibility of losing some elective or core classes that many students may need. With the loss of such classes, that could potentially hinder a student’s education greatly.

“Though I think core classes can have safe replacements with subs (Substitute teachers), but elective classes that are specific would be hard to find, I cannot imagine there being the same amount of drama teachers as English teachers, it would be pretty detrimental for students in electives who are missing a teacher especially if you have a test at the end of the year,” senior, Evan Rivera said.

Although none of these elective classes are required, they can be an interesting addition to core classes and really help with education. An example of this is advanced classes for jobs like accounting class or Geography class. The shortage means that there could not be a teacher for a lot of electives/core classes and that can affect a student’s desired education.

“Well, I am going to give an example I am in band, and I am really passionate about what I do in that class and so if I was not going to have my band teacher there you know I would feel like down I need my band teacher to learn and better myself in that class so it would kind of suck for stuff like that,” senior Jonathan Polohronakis stated.

The Economic policy institute says that the shortage is real, large, and growing, but despite those problems the shortage is still possible to fix, there are a lot of steps being taken to do so. The president of the United States is planning for teachers to make the environment better for teachers and students reducing the number of teachers that retire. This plan adds 9 billion dollars of funding for teachers which would allow more teachers to return from the possibility of retirement. The plan hopes to have teachers planning to retire to come out and teach again as well as have especially new teachers to come into the workforce.

“As far as I know it sounds like the plan would really help teachers, I never really thought that they had the right stuff for teaching. Some of my classes do not even have computers, they literally need to borrow them from next door and all that talk about teachers getting bad pay, I do not know how much they get paid, but it must be bad. Fixing those problems as I see it would really help with the shortage,” senior, Evan Rivera said.

The plan includes 9 billion dollars providing training, equipment, and diversifying teachers across the nation. On top of that a great way to fix the shortage is to increase the level of education, making classes more organized with new equipment and refined courses for students as well as increasing the pay. Most teachers have a reputation of having disturbingly low pay. The plan adds a lot of things but does not solve the problem of teacher pay.

“I can guess the best way to help the shortage would be to make it more known and as far as I know it is mostly COVID making teachers retire so making classes a more sanitary place would help if any a little and most importantly pay because there were so many times that I have joked with other kids about teacher pay it is like stupid low,” junior, Matthew Khandrava said.