There will always be a need for great teachers in the United States. Regardless of economic conditions, hiring practices, and other factors that impact the education system, teachers will always be needed. Teachers are the backbone of our education system and serve as both instructors and mentors for students everywhere.
There is a real teacher shortage in the United States. Historically, teacher shortages occurred when there were not enough teachers in key subject areas. A few factors contributed to these shortages:
The ongoing problem of teacher shortages was made worse as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 1 in 4 teachers expressed that they would leave their job before the 2020-21 school year. This was due to a variety of factors, but most relate to a lack of respect for teachers. They have faced lower pay than similarly-educated workers, and the pandemic only served to illustrate the poor working conditions that many teachers face. Combined with growing frustration about the attitudes and disrespect from both students and parents, the rate of teacher shortage has increased greatly.
Every state in the U.S. has a teacher shortage. Some states have more considerable shortages than other states, and individual counties or school districts within states have a greater need for teachers than others. Additionally, states have shortages of teachers for specific subjects and grade levels.
[A paper] (https://www.edworkingpapers.com/sites/default/files/ai22-631.pdf) by researchers at Kansas State University looked at the teacher shortages for the 2021-22 school year on a state-by-state level. Not all states reported data, but the researchers were able to compare those who did. Florida has the most teacher vacancies at 3,911 statewide. When looking at vacancies by state per 10,000 students the other states that showed high teacher vacancies were Alabama, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Mississippi led this group with 68 vacancies per 10,000 students. Overall, it is estimated that 36,504-52,8000 teacher positions remained unfilled.
An additional problem noted in this report is the number of “underqualified” teachers in classrooms across the country. The researcher identified 163,650 teachers who do not have certification in their subject area. This is about 5% of the teacher workforce in the United States. Although the teacher shortage levels may not be high, this does not mean that students are getting the highest level of education as underqualified teachers work in the country’s classrooms.
Having enough teachers helps keep class sizes small in schools, which leads to more one-on-one attention from the teacher and ultimately leads to more student success. Increasing class sizes can negatively affect teacher performance as there are more papers, projects, and tests to grade, more children to supervise, and more behaviors to manage. Students may not receive the help they need to be successful if their needs are not identified by an overworked teacher.
A shortage of teachers harms students, other educators, and public education systems as a whole. The lack of sufficient, qualified teachers threatens students’ ability to learn optimally and reduces teachers’ effectiveness, and will inevitably harm education quality and standards. A shortage of teachers will lead to hiring more unqualified teachers to fill in the gaps, which means students will receive a lower-quality education.
Furthermore, the teacher shortage then makes it more challenging to build a positive reputation for the teaching profession and recruit more quality teachers, further perpetuating the shortage.
To combat the teacher shortage, the working conditions for teachers much be improved, and any other conditions that are prompting teachers to quit and preventing people from entering the profession. These factors include low pay, a challenging school/work environment, and weak professional development support and recognition. Funding for public schools cannot be cut, especially those schools in low-income areas. Teachers need to feel respected by students and parents as well. It is the job of administrators and the educational system as a whole to make this happen.
Vacancies by 10K
|Alabama||3000 and up||4|
|Mississippi||3000 and up||4|
|District of Columbia||1-999||3|
|Florida||3000 and up||3|
|Georgia||3000 and up||3|