Lack of teachers Couples price in public schools in Texas University of Texas A & M- San Antonio

The U.S. has seen a shortage of teachers nationwide deployment to K-12 caused by a drop in morale and challenges with virtual teaching during the epidemic. Texas was no exception.

The Charles Butt Foundation surveyed 919 teachers in public schools in Texas for a Texas Teacher Survey. The survey found that 68% of those teachers seriously considered leaving their positions in 2021.

Vanessa Travino, supervisor of clinical teachers at Texas A&M-University San Antonio, admitted that virtual learning during the epidemic caused students to lag behind, making it difficult for teachers to do their jobs.

“I think it’s hard to be a teacher now,” Trevino said said. “The students themselves, through no fault of their own, are one to one and a half years behind because of COVID.”

The survey found that teachers face a plethora of challenges related to the epidemic. Teachers experienced mostly challenges with virtual teaching, work-related stress, and increased workload.

Students did not learn at the same distance rate as they did in person, Trevino said. She said some school districts have told teachers that it is enough for students to connect to their virtual meetings.

“I think kids in public schools and charter schools all face the same kind of challenges,” Trevino said.

Michelle Hickman, deputy superintendent at Yuval Academies, said the charter school also saw a shortage of academically retarded teachers and students.

“Our students are currently being taught by unqualified teachers or unqualified workers to cover the shortage,” Hickman said. “It’s a terrible impact on the kids.”

Hickman said she knows teachers who have chosen to leave their jobs to be mothers at home while COVID-19 continues, with the intention of returning when the epidemic ends. Although, she said some people are also leaving the field of education altogether.

Hickman, who has been certified as an inspector at A&M-San Antonio, told her charter school there are no contracts with his teachers, making it easier for teachers to leave.

“We have teachers who started the school year with us but applied during the summer (to other schools), and eventually they got phone calls and were eventually picked up by those other schools,” Hickman said.

Governor Greg Abbott sent a Letter To the Texas Educational Agency (TEA) on March 7 in a call to create a task force to assess the causes of teacher shortages.

TEA has launched the Task Force for Free Teachers, made up of public education leaders from Around the country.

“This task force needs to explore the challenges that vacant teacher jobs pose to school districts, explore best practices for addressing this shortage, and explore the possibility of flexibility in certification, placement, and job acceptance,” Abbott wrote.

However, the Texas Teachers Survey reported that 53% of teachers said they felt less valued by state electors.

Travino said another reason teachers leave their jobs is because the pay is low for someone with an academic degree.

“Nothing has been done at the state level regarding teacher pay increases,” Hickman said.

Given the workload, stress and pay, Trevino said being a teacher is not worth it for some.

“Some people say (being a teacher) it’s just not worth it,” Trevino said. “They go in there, stay a year or two, and then they leave.”

A&M-San Antonio hosted an employment fair for educators on April 1 with participants from various cities across the U.S. looking for teachers, Trevino said.

Travino said clinical students have a lot of opportunities because of the shortage of teachers. She said she believes all of her clinical students will be able to find work.

“If they work in a school that has a good culture, then it handles a lot of the stress, (especially) if they have support in the first year,” Trevino said.

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