It's been a very tough few years for both teachers and kids. We've talked extensively about the Covid Slide and how to make sure your children aren't slipping further and further behind national standards due to the pandemic, but a facet of COVID we haven't touched on is the teacher shortage.
The Washington Post recently reported that school districts were in "crisis" mode as teachers left the classroom for a myriad of reasons; from the difficulties of teaching through COVID to feeling unsafe due to school shootings to unsupportive administration and parents, teachers have been quitting in droves.
As The Washington Post stated, "It is hard to know exactly how many U.S. classrooms are short of teachers for the 2022-2023 school year; no national database precisely tracks the issue. But state- and district-level reports have emerged across the country detailing staffing gaps that stretch from the hundreds to the thousands — and remain wide open as summer winds rapidly to a close."
Just how bad is it? In Illinois, "88 percent of school districts statewide" were having trouble staffing classrooms. Teachers are so scarce across the nation that completely unqualified people such as veterans with no teaching background, college students, or janitorial staff have been subbing in the classroom. Other districts are "four-day weeks this fall due to lack of staff," wrote The Post.
Obviously this is less than ideal.
We are fighting an uphill battle to get our kids ready for college and beyond already, adding post-COVID difficulties to a teacher shortage is exponentially compounding the issue.
So what can you do?
As a parent, it's important to make sure you and your kid are pulling your weight; teachers are not the end-all-be-all and we know how overtaxed they are. If you notice your child struggling, YOU are the first stop! Can you implement a stronger bedtime routine or study schedule? Consequences or rewards?
If that doesn't work for your student, it may be time to hire a tutor. Maybe your child is advanced and isn't getting the one-on-one attention he or she needs in class; a tutor can help provide supplemental enrichment programs. Or maybe your child is sliding behind and could benefit from more focused attention; a private tutor provides exactly that.
It's important that we arm our kids with the most we can give them. That does mean stronger benefits, pay, and appreciation for teachers, but until that systemic change comes, you can give your child the benefit of individual attention either at home or via a private tutor.