American Education Week, which focuses on honoring everyone in the public school community, is November 13 to November 19, 2022. It is a good opportunity to reflect on the importance of teachers and current industry problems, such as the current teacher shortage.
Why Is There a Teacher Shortage Across the US?
According to Think Impact, there were 3,080,920 public school teachers in 2020 and there will be a projected 3,909,000 teachers in the United States by 2029. However, there is a teacher shortage in many places in the United States.
For example, the Washington Post reported that:
- Nevada has an estimated 3,000 teaching positions unfilled across 17 school districts.
- 88% of school districts in Illinois are experiencing teacher shortages.
- School districts in rural areas of Texas are switching to four-day weeks due to a teacher shortage.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the teacher shortage. However, other challenges faced by teachers, such as a high level of strain, have been exacerbated by teaching shortages in schools across the country. In addition, other factors that adversely impact teachers include low autonomy, inadequate resources and challenging classroom management situations, according to the Mayerson Academy.
The TEACH Grant Is One Way to Attract New Teachers
States commonly offer various incentives, such as grants and other programs, for someone to become a teacher. For example, the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant provides up to $4,000 a year for students who complete the coursework to become a teacher. To be eligible for the TEACH grant, college students must agree to teach for four years at an elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students in a high-need field.
Using Military Servicemembers and Veterans Is Another Solution to Solve the Teacher Shortage
One viable option for addressing the teacher shortage is to emphasize the value of teaching to military servicemembers and veterans. Military servicemembers commonly have many responsibilities, and training others is a very common duty. As a result, they receive valuable experience that can help them be effective instructors.
Programs such as Troops to Teachers help servicemembers and veterans to become K-12 teachers by providing counseling on the teacher certification process and other services. This program is currently available in 25 states.
According to the California Department of Veterans Affairs, the Troops to Teachers Program may pay $5,000 (depending upon available funds) towards certification costs for teachers. The program also offers bonuses of $10,000 for teaching in schools that serve low-income families.
Typically, a bachelor’s degree is required to be a K-12 teacher. However, Florida is working to fill the teacher shortage by offering military veterans a five-year temporary teaching certificate for qualified candidates who have not yet earned their bachelor’s degree.
According to the Florida Department of Education, servicemembers may qualify for this program if they:
- Have at least 48 months of service in the military with an honorable or medical discharge
- Have at least a 2.5 GPA with a minimum of 60 college credit hours
- Earn a passing score on a Florida subject area test
- Pass a background check
- Apply for and receive employment within a school district or charter school in Florida
Being a Teacher Has Multiple Benefits
There are many advantages to the teaching profession. Teachers have a direct impact on student learning and make a significant difference in the lives of others.
Also, teachers have reliable hours and access to good benefits. In addition, the teaching profession offers job stability, an opportunity to teach a subject the teacher loves and a productive work environment.
The profession of teaching provides an important opportunity to pass one’s knowledge on to others. Now is an excellent time for servicemembers and veterans to explore opportunities to become teachers and to help solve the teacher shortage.