Teacher Shortage - what are your thoughts?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by akconnel, Nov 29, 2018.

  1. akconnel

    akconnel Rookie

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    Nov 29, 2018

    I have been reading with interest every article I can find on the teacher shortage across the country. I was wondering what you all have any predictions where we are headed.

    I personally think it’s going to get a LOT worse before it gets better, because any solutions that would actually address the reasons teachers are leaving are things the government is either unwilling to do or cannot afford to do, like reducing class sizes.

    I have a (probably unpopular) opinion that one of the big issues is the increasing integration of special education students that in the past would never have been in a regular classroom. It has added so mich more stress on the classroom teacher. The inclusion model of having a special ed teacher in the room has not worked as far as I can tell, but maybe that’s because I haven’t had any good ones.

    What do you all think will happen down the road? I suspect the solution politicians will implement is to just make it so anyone off the street can be a teacher without any certification. I also think that is why there is an increasing move towards boxed curriculum. Just prepackage everything so any warm body can do it and then it won’t matter if someone is trained or not.
     
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  3. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I miss the days when K-3 classrooms in California were capped at 20:1. My first year teaching, I had 18 students all year long. It was wonderful. As a first year first grade teacher, I felt fortunate to have such a small, manageable class.

    Fast forward to now: the first grade teachers at my site have 26 students in every room. Additionally, the number of behaviorally challenged students we have in our schools each year steadily increase. Looking back on my 14 years in education, I lovingly refer to my first few years in the classroom as the glory days.

    I haven't seen a teacher shortage in my area just yet, but I'm sure it's coming soon.
     
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  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Our grade 1-3 classes are hard-capped at 20. There are "guidelines" for other grades, but no firm caps. Most of the grade 4-8 classes in our school are sitting anywhere between 28 and 32; having a third of the class with behaviour issues, learning differences or ESL is not uncommon.
     
  5. Bibliophile

    Bibliophile Companion

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    I dont think that your opinion about the increase in inclusion is unpopular for many. But I think that it is missing some insight. The problem isnt inclusion, its inclusive practices that dont provide any or very little help for gen ed teacher. Kids with autism and other issues are basically just thrown in the deep end and we are told that its not sink or swim, its swim or swim with failure not being an option even though we dont even have enough arms to possibly keep the kids thrown in afloat.

    I think that another problem is that teachers in many schools have had all of their authority and autonomy taken away. These leaves many with no way to enforce discipline while we are being turned into cogs in the education machine. In short we are put in a hard to win situation and then we arent allowed to do what we know is right, which is demoralizing, then we are demonize in the court of public opinion while living just a hairs breadth above poverty. Who is going to keep coming back to that.
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    We have a bit of teacher shortage in my area. The salary wars helped a bit, but some schools in more rural areas are still desperate for teachers. I think the state did a lookie into what was going on. It was a combination of salary, not feeling supported in the classroom, and the culture of teacher ladies having babies and leaving the classroom and male teachers not feeling they can support families.

    I feel teaching as changed significantly from what is used to be. We are no longer just teachers, and I think inclusion is a big part of it. In theory, I'm not against inclusion if it is indeed the right move. But it's so hard for it to be the right move! A few months back I read a blog of articles defending inclusion and why it should work and how to make it work... and I don't know any schools that were following everything on the how to make it work list.

    Last year at least half of my class had some sort of issue, and it was hard!

    I feel that because it's difficult to fund support systems, teachers are being encouraged to multi-certify, which may technically give the teacher knowledge but likely not any practical applications in the classroom.

    And of course there's the pressure of data this and data that... and I like data.

    I think schools will fight the teacher shortage by trying to control, for better or for worse, as much as they can. I agree we will see far more boxed curriculums to meet the needs of data demands.

    I also think we will also see community responses. I think homeschooling, charter, and private schools will increase as community and even teachers get exasperated and go off to do their own thing.
     
  7. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We are seeing an increase in enrollment in our district's online school. Students have many online options in our area. We have a major teacher shortage to the point that our district has our own alt cert plan, and it is totally free! The only requirements are a college degree and passing Praxis I.
     
  8. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    The England and Wales are also experiencing a severe shortage of teachers. (Scotland and Ireland have different systems).This has been creeping in for about 10 years. First we had a Government that denigrated teachers at every chance it got. The Minister for Education described us as 'The blob' This was followed by an 8 year pay freeze. Targets for recruiting new trainee teachers have been missed for at least the last 5 years. Changes to how schools are managed. Lots of Academies (You call them Charters) that can set their own rates of pay and hire and fire on a whim. They are also not required to hire qualified staff. A sustained campaign to get rid of older, experienced teachers who are generally on higher salaries. So we are now in a situation where in most subjects there are now shortages. Almost 50% of High schools do not have one Physics specialist! All STEM subjects are desperate, English and languages likewise. 40% of new teachers quit in the first 3 years. The Government refuses to do anything to reverse this despite there now being 300,000 qualified teachers who are not in the classroom and 100,000 trained teachers who have never been hired! If all of our schools were fully staffed there would be about 450,000 working teachers.
     
  9. akconnel

    akconnel Rookie

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    Wow! I knew England was experiencing the same thing because I've been reading about it online. It even sounds like it might be a bit worse over there. And by worse I mean further along. I do believe it will get that bad in the United States. We are just creeping up behind.

    Has anyone else noticed an overall decline in the behavior of kids? This year has been the worst for me in 15 years. The kids either don't know or don't care how to act in a class. They cannot even conform to the simplest norms like not shouting out in class and not getting up whenever they want to move to a different seat.

    A friend of mine told me she noticed the kids' behavior is getting worse every year and I agree. I believe strongly that part of the reason for this is the technology. I know this sounds harsh but I believe any parent who gives their kid a smart phone is part of the problem. Harsh or not I won't back down on that point.
     
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  10. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    In the UK we have a thing called OFSTED. They inspect schools, trash them and then expect things to improve. However the main way schools are judged are on exam results. Schools are penalised if they exclude pupils and so kids can be very extreme in behaviour and are not shown the door. This only encourages normally good kids to copy and this then leads to more teachers giving up. I am currently subbing in a school where a new teacher walked after less than 2 months in the job because of the extreme behaviour of the kids. 4 weeks in and I am starting to see improvements, I have 3 weeks left. In the new year they will have another teacher who, hopefully, will have the resilience to face them down and get some work out of them.

    It's not often that we are ahead of you in anything! LOL
     
  11. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    It's interesting that both you and YTG pointed to 14-15 years ago as the point at which things started to get worse. 15 years is a generation -- what we are seeing is a new generation of kids raised by a newer generation of parents. I am not shocked at students' behaviors when I look at the behavior of grown "adults" today -- teachers, even, on phones, ignoring the speaker, interrupting, etc. at staff meetings, parents who are rude and inconsiderate of teachers, people going off in public and shouting obscenities -- society at a whole has seemingly lost its basic decency, so we can't really blame our students for modeling what they see.
     
  12. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    As far as inclusion goes -- this year in particular my school decided to conduct an "experiment" by mainstreaming students into college prep English classes who had previously only ever been in sheltered RSP English classes. I have several students who are on the spectrum or have significant cognitive disabilities who are suddenly being asked to read Shakespeare, annotate poetry, participate in academic discussions, when all they have done previously is read a text and answer questions (if that...). I have no aides in the classroom. I have to say that some of these students are over-performing in the truest sense of the word -- but I will also say that it has been a Herculean effort on my part to help get them there.
     
  13. akconnel

    akconnel Rookie

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    And I bet you that once your administration sees it happening, while they may acknowledge in passing the huge amount of effort you've put in, they will see it as working so you should be able to do it every year and so should the other teachers. Kind of like "See, that teacher is making it work. We can go further with this."
     
  14. akconnel

    akconnel Rookie

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    Excellent point!!! But I do think the technology has made us all less considerate as a society. There is a phone coming out in a few months that does nothing but text and I want to purchase it. Or I was even thinking about going back to just using a flip phone. I don't think smart phones have had a positive impact on us as a whole.
     
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  15. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Nov 29, 2018

    See Arizona. And yes about the scripted curriculum. And I also think districts will further push individualized technology programs to combat the teaching shortage and/ or replace teachers (e.g. Khan Academy.)

    :(
     
  16. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    This is happening in my former school. I’m pretty sure I picked a good time to retire.

    Over the past 15 years I also noted a big decline in respect and willingness to, you know...work.
     
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Fanatic

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    Tell me about it. This year, we had record numbers of enrollment and average class sizes at my school ballooned from 19-21 per class to 30-35 across all grade levels. Basically, we were slammed at the last second before the school year started and that has never happened before as class sizes are normally capped at 25.

    I think the lowest in all of my classes is 30 this year and the highest is 35.
     
  18. Geologygirl

    Geologygirl Comrade

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    We have many more autistic kids being mainstreamed also. Normally I am all about inclusion, but after experiencing a student throw them selves to the floor screaming and crying over being asked to fix a mistake on a paper I feel unqualified and untrained to meet the needs of kids like this by my self. I think if the sped kids can handle being in a classroom bring it on, but if not they need to have supports in place including paras to help the kid succeed. If not, it is not fair to that student or the other 37 to 42 kids in class .I also think class sizes are way to big, and the rise of lawnmower parents are all reasons for the teaching crisis. I should note I teach high school.
     
  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    As a first year teacher, class size and the emphasis on data is my main issue. I have 33 kids in two of my classes and it is a lot, even without kids with IEPs. It's scary to know that we do not have a cap. I am hoping to eventually find a job in a district with a class size cap. I teach in an urban school and I know that suburban schools in my area do not have such ridiculous class sizes. Inclusion classes in my school have a cap of 25 with two teachers, at least for Math and English classes.

    I'm also frustrated by the emphasis on data with the lack of resources. If schools are so focused on data, I would honestly prefer a curriculum if it is high quality and we have the freedom to make changes. We only have a pacing guide at my school and I am teaching to a test that I have never seen! It is difficult to make your own resources all the time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  20. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    I teach ONLY students with autism and I find it insane to think one of my students would ever be placed in a mainstream class. Maladaptive behaviors can occur at anytime in the classroom and sometimes for unknown reasons. This is why my students are placed in classrooms that have no more than 6 students (however, note I am in a private school). In public schools some autism classrooms have up to 12 students but certain kids can't function in a classroom that has too many students. I know people think that if "regular" students model good behavior the autistic students will learn from that but honestly some will never be able to because their behavior isn't usually a "choice" rather than a response to something that occurs over which they have no control. Behavior modification can occur with these students but it but from what I've seen it is a slow process. In the meantime, regular education teachers are stressed out and the regular education students are affected negatively.
     
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  21. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    The scariest thing about this is that once class sizes go up, it becomes the new norm and rarely do they go back down.
     

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