How To Handle Staffing Shortages in K–12 Schools
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, schools all over the country began dealing with staffing shortages. The problem is twofold: fewer people are entering the profession, and more people are leaving it. With that, read on to learn how school districts can handle staffing shortages in K–12 schools.
Offer Teacher Residency Programs
One thing schools can do to combat the issue is partner with local institutions of higher education that train primary and secondary educators. Instead of requiring short periods of student teaching, schools can start offering longer teacher residencies.
The benefit for the teachers is additional experience teaching in the classroom before heading to the job market. Meanwhile, the schools gain additional teachers who are well-educated and full of energy.
Outsource School Programs
If schools have the funding to hire more teachers, but no one is applying, they can turn to outsourcing. There are now many private companies that specialize in remote education, making it easier for schools to outsource special education and other services. There are even companies that offer tutoring services for individual students, helping them catch up on topics they may have missed during the pandemic.
Focus on Retention
While schools are having trouble finding new people to enter the profession, they’re having just as much difficulty keeping people from leaving. Schools must find better ways to support current teachers to prevent them from leaving. Offering higher pay, better benefits, and more compassionate support can go a long way toward keeping experienced educators from going elsewhere.
Schools can work toward better supporting teachers through mentorship programs. They can also pay close attention to how much work they assign their teachers since overworking often leads to poor retention. It may help to pair younger, less-experienced teachers with those who have been teaching for a long time so they can share wisdom and better set expectations.
Solving the Teacher Shortage
The path toward fixing the teacher shortage isn’t easy. School districts can handle staffing shortages in K–12 schools by finding new ways to combine teacher education with real-world experience. They can also look to outsourcing and better retention strategies to meet demands.