DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With so many staffing shortages caused by COVID-19 especially in schools, many people are wondering what the future of the education profession will look like.
The field of education has not been unscathed by the “Great Resignation” caused by the pandemic. From teachers, to cafeteria workers, to bus drivers, to school psychologists, and therapists, they’re all feeling the burnout.
“We’re seeing deficits in all of those positions,” said Shannon Cox, superintendent for Montgomery County Educational Service Center, who said she received two resignations just Monday.
According to a recent survey in Education Week, 77% of schools are struggling to hire substitutes, 68% are struggling to hire bus drivers, 55% are struggling to hire aides, and 48% are struggling to hire full-time teachers.
“Our legislators have put temporary laws into place where we can take non-four-year-degree people and put them into classrooms,” said Cox. “We’re not just pulling people off the street. We’re not just saying if they have a heartbeat, ‘come in and teach our kids.’ Every school district has to pass a resolution to say here are the criteria that you must meet in order to teach in our schools. “
To help fill positions, some retired teachers are coming back to the profession.
“What we’re seeing is those folks are looking back and saying, ‘Wait, we can still help. We’ve got some time left in us. We thought we were retired, but this calls for all hands on deck’,” said Cox.
As educators look toward the future and try to keep the pipeline going, Cox said it’s about making sure they have the right people and getting new people into teacher prep programs.
“We get to be the architects of what education looks like, so embrace it. This is really an exciting opportunity. We’re all exhausted – don’t get me wrong. Like, we are exhausted, and we will take whatever help that we can get, but it really is an opportunity to build something quite amazing for our future,” said Cox.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, more than 200,000 people have left public education since July.