Shining Light on The Nationwide Teacher Shortage

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Mario Fuentes, Staff Writer

The teacher shortage is a pressing issue that has been affecting, not only Danbury High School but high schools around the country. As more and more students enter our school system, there is more demand for educators. Many factors have contributed to the teacher shortage, including high-stress levels, lack of respect, and compensation. Teaching continues to be one of the most undervalued careers here in the US and it continues to show in our classrooms. 

 

Teachers are not the easiest to hire. It’s difficult to find qualified teachers that are a good fit for the school. This year, many of our teachers have been assigned a sixth class instead of the normal five to compensate for the lack of teachers. Having another thirty kids to teach, grade, and keep track of can be stressful for teachers even with the extra compensation. Ms.Nesi, an English teacher at DHS voiced her opinion on the matter stating, “bigger class sizes mean that there are more kids that the teacher has to divide their attention to so they don’t get everything they need to get done or are more intimidated in front of larger class sizes”. Additionally, this teacher shortage is not only affecting the teachers of course but also us, the students. Dr.Martins, an administrator here at DHS gave her opinion on our growing student body, “enrollment is growing, so we have more students which means we need more teachers which is coming all together at a time after the pandemic where… the great resignation occurred”. As the years progress here in Danbury, the number of students increases. Next year we expect to have the biggest number of freshmen that we have ever seen. Meaning we will need to hire even more certified educators. Going through a worldwide pandemic was hard for workers. Many people moved to fields where salaries could have been higher as teaching is not where many people wanted to go. Demand for teachers in certain subjects has been a problem as well. Supplying World Language teachers have been a burden to high schools and they continue to be. Our Teacher-Student-Ratio is 16:1 which is less than the national average. DHS is still looking for solutions…

 

Solutions aren’t easy to come by…what we need is a solution. Teaching does not get the respect and attention it deserves which limits people from pursuing the profession. A big solution could be helping financially. Every state gives money to its education differently. In the case of Connecticut, it all comes from different places. It could be the state, or it could be the city which means that on the national scale, this shortage can’t be changed in an instant. It would take a nationwide effort to help fund these schools. 

 

Being a new teacher in the shortage isn’t very attractive either. Coverages are being assigned to teachers with less seniority which could make the job look more stressful than it already is. It’s exhausting to not only work overtime but it impacts the quality of teaching, especially if a new teacher is being affected and they are still learning the fundamentals of teaching. The pay for these extra classes isn’t much better anyways. Mr. Coletti, an English teacher here at DHS states, “while there is a little bit of a bonus of pay, [he] believes it is 1/8th of [their] pay which is not really worth it.” If teachers are taking the extra bit of time out of their day, then they should be getting paid a reasonable amount for these extra classes. The result of fewer people wanting to teach has caused more and more of these extra coverages which result in less pay for the people who are taking them.

 

The nationwide teacher shortage is here to stay. While the profession is criticized by the public, it is still one of the most important jobs in the world. Teachers are shaping the young minds of the future and are doing a great job at it. Teachers can be some of the most influential people in a student’s life. If we want our future generations to succeed in the future, then we need to treat our educators with the respect they deserve.