22 votes

The Teacher Shortage is Real, Large and Growing, and Worse Than We Thought (Part 1)

12 comments

  1. [4]
    GandalfTheGrey Link
    Another factor to throw into the mix is that US public perceptions of teachers are low. I think some people are willing to take a low-paid, respected position, but you have to be a real martyr to...

    Another factor to throw into the mix is that US public perceptions of teachers are low. I think some people are willing to take a low-paid, respected position, but you have to be a real martyr to take a low-paid, ill treated position.

    I haven't yet seen a study on the quality of a teachers from online schools vs. physical ones, but you can bet there's been a huge jump in the percentage of new teachers coming from online prep.

    It was a little unclear if there was an implicit suggestion in the report that alternative certification is sub-par compared to traditional certification programs. I don't necessarily agree with that statement without some further evidence.

    From my own perspective (graduating college smack dab in the middle of the recession), people getting even a 40k/year job right after graduation was pretty uncommon. Looking around, most of my peers have taken about 10 years to get to that pay-grade. So, yes, teaching positions are low-paid, but relative to the menial jobs millennials have been trudging through, is it any worse? I'm not so sure.

    11 votes
    1. JXM Link Parent
      As someone else who graduated at about the same time, a lot of my friends still aren't hitting $40k per year. It's not from lack of trying, but rather it's from an overabundance of people who...

      From my own perspective (graduating college smack dab in the middle of the recession), people getting even a 40k/year job right after graduation was pretty uncommon. Looking around, most of my peers have taken about 10 years to get to that pay-grade. So, yes, teaching positions are low-paid, but relative to the menial jobs millennials have been trudging through, is it any worse? I'm not so sure.

      As someone else who graduated at about the same time, a lot of my friends still aren't hitting $40k per year. It's not from lack of trying, but rather it's from an overabundance of people who graduated from college and all want high paying jobs. It turns out that there just aren't that many of those to go around...

      7 votes
    2. The_Fad Link Parent
      Two things I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on: Do you think there is a trend in the US today of anti-intellectualism? If so, how big of an effect do you think this is having on the public...

      Two things I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on:

      1. Do you think there is a trend in the US today of anti-intellectualism?
      2. If so, how big of an effect do you think this is having on the public perception of teachers?
      5 votes
    3. kfwyre Link Parent
      Anecdotally speaking, I know several teachers who took jobs with significantly lower incomes and were significantly happier for it. Teaching is so terrible right now that people are willing to...

      Anecdotally speaking, I know several teachers who took jobs with significantly lower incomes and were significantly happier for it.

      Teaching is so terrible right now that people are willing to take substantial paycuts to leave it. I recently decided I will be leaving the field for good and will likely have to take at least a 10K loss in salary to do so. It'll still be worth it.

      5 votes
  2. Rez Link
    It seems like an issue with education is that everyone has taken it for granted. We don't want to pay teachers, businesses don't want to train workers, and we don't make college affordable. And...

    It seems like an issue with education is that everyone has taken it for granted. We don't want to pay teachers, businesses don't want to train workers, and we don't make college affordable. And that's just financial aspects. It all seems broke top to bottom, whether in terms of making good workers or good citizens, where we have systematic dysfunctions built in and worsening over time.

    One step even seems obvious enough: if we have a surplus of educated people who can't get jobs befitting their degree, then a teacher shortage is the perfect way to scoop up all those people and to churn out an amazing generation of students, but teachers are so underpaid, little respected and overworked that it doesn't even register as an option for most.

    9 votes
  3. [5]
    JohnLeFou Link
    This topic is very close for me. In my area the graduating class for the largest college in the state for language arts teachers this year was 2. Combining with the three other colleges for the...

    This topic is very close for me. In my area the graduating class for the largest college in the state for language arts teachers this year was 2. Combining with the three other colleges for the state it was 6 total. Of teachers starting in my state only about half are still teaching after 5 years. The attrition rate is awful and burnout from doing excess work loads due to the shortage is only making things worse. I would bet the falling out for the profession would be a lot higher if there wasn’t already a student loan forgiveness program that requires you to teach in state for 5 years.

    I would also like to take a soapbox moment. They are now filling these vacancies with alternatively certified teachers which are a bit of a mixed bag and often lack the resources to deal with younger kids. It doesn’t make them bad people but they lack the child psychology background and lots of the tools you pickup in regular programs.

    And then we have emergency certified teachers which at current is anyone with a pulse, a background check, and a superintendent rubber stamp. And at my wife’s school of the last 3 applicants 2 could not pass the background check. So, the 3rd was hired (position has been open for two years) and promptly they had a breakdown and quit in 3 months. It is looking very grim in my area. In 2011 there were 32 emergency certificates held in state. In 2018 there were almost 2200 approved in that year.

    7 votes
    1. [4]
      userexec Link Parent
      I'm one of those teachers that quit. Got my degree and certification, then lasted a whole two years in the field. The teaching part was great, but the workload and pay were insane. I was barely...

      I'm one of those teachers that quit. Got my degree and certification, then lasted a whole two years in the field. The teaching part was great, but the workload and pay were insane. I was barely making bills on a one-bedroom apartment while trying to keep my car running, and it felt like all I ever did was work. Wake up, work. Come home, work. Weekend, work. Summer, work. The whole purpose and passion argument for sticking with it is cute but it didn't make up for the realities, and far too many people believed teachers like me were overpaid idiots who couldn't get a real job. I didn't see a future in which I could ever have a home or a family, the other teachers I graduated with were ending up on anti-depressants, and I knew it wouldn't be long before I got there too.

      I quit to drive a semi and retrain myself in programming, which was an instant pay and time boost and was far less stressful. Now I work as a developer where I get paid over twice as much, only work at work, and get much better benefits.

      I never intend to be at the front of a classroom again, but I hope we can make it better for teachers in the future. The field has critical issues and they're going to do significant harm to the rest of our society if we don't fix them.

      4 votes
      1. ras Link Parent
        My wife is not going back after this summer. She did 11 years and just can’t take it anymore. She’s an art teacher and doesn’t even get bathroom breaks during the day (they tell her to call an...

        My wife is not going back after this summer. She did 11 years and just can’t take it anymore. She’s an art teacher and doesn’t even get bathroom breaks during the day (they tell her to call an admin if she needs to go, but they rarely are able to come in a timely manner). Most of her lunches are lunches during meetings. It’s absurd. Meanwhile they’re building a $6 million indoor football practice facility. I can’t blame her for leaving, and losing the money is going to hurt, but we’ll make do without it.

        5 votes
      2. [2]
        kfwyre Link Parent
        Can you expand a bit on becoming a developer? I ask only because I'm going to be leaving teaching in the coming years and one of my potential paths is something tech-oriented. I loved the...

        Can you expand a bit on becoming a developer? I ask only because I'm going to be leaving teaching in the coming years and one of my potential paths is something tech-oriented. I loved the intro-level programming courses I took ~15 years ago and am decently techy. Would it be possible for me to spend a year or two self-teaching and land a job, or is that unfeasible?

        1. userexec Link Parent
          Sort of feasible. I taught myself with a mix of just messing around and teamtreehouse.com plus books. I went from driving to tech support at a university on an LMS due to my teaching background...

          Sort of feasible. I taught myself with a mix of just messing around and teamtreehouse.com plus books. I went from driving to tech support at a university on an LMS due to my teaching background and tech resume. I would suggest trying to replicate that path. Professors and students need constant support using those and designing courses to work in them. Once there I really had spare time and was able to double down on my programming knowledge, and when a developer position opened up I got it easily.

          1 vote
  4. Diet_Coke (edited ) Link
    Not really surprising. Teachers are not given a lot of agency anymore, in what seems like a profession that calls for it. The chickens of increasing litigiousness of parents, the necessity to...

    Not really surprising. Teachers are not given a lot of agency anymore, in what seems like a profession that calls for it. The chickens of increasing litigiousness of parents, the necessity to 'teach to the test', and being a regular victim of budget cuts are all coming home to roost. We need a real culture change and real overhaul of the education system. Why should it all be about job training when job requirements now change so fast? People should be taught how to communicate in long-form. They should be taught the maker skills that will let them express their creativity. They should be taught to reason and form logical arguments. Why do we still have summer break? Students, especially impoverished and at-risk students, lose a lot of progress during the summer. Shorter, more spaced out breaks would serve them much better and "justify" raises for teachers.

    Has anyone had the chance to read recent grad cover letters? You can make it through a decent school with a 4 year degree and barely be able to string a thought together on paper.

    5 votes
  5. The_Fad Link
    Surprising no one, when you underfund an entire sector and underpay its workers, no one wants to work in that sector. WHO'D'A'THUNK'IT

    Surprising no one, when you underfund an entire sector and underpay its workers, no one wants to work in that sector.

    WHO'D'A'THUNK'IT

    6 votes