Nationwide teacher shortage increasing amid ongoing pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A nationwide teacher shortage has become even worse during the pandemic, leaving teachers forced to make some tough decisions.

Some are pulling money from their own pockets to take care of their students, while others are leaving the profession.

Some states have even reduced education funding.

Education advocates say this could have a negative impact on kids.

They say it’s the perfect storm, that COVID-19 is exacerbating the shortage of educators.

Desperate to fill positions, some school districts have increased pay for substitutes and even suspended some of the application requirements. Kelly Services, an employment agency, says their need for substitute teachers has gone up some 34 percent since the pandemic began.

Researchers say teachers are being exposed to COVID-19 at school, forcing them to stay home in quarantine.

Some are staying home with their own children, who are in virtual learning.

The American Federation of Teachers, a national labor union, says 1 in 3 teachers said the pandemic forced them to retire earlier than planned.

Some teachers said they feel a lack of respect and support during this time.

“If we continue treating our teachers like this, we are going to lose most of them during the summer,” Dr. Rebecca Good, a 35-year educator said. “That’s going to put us in a predicament that we don’t even want to think about.”

Good trains parents and teachers on how to advocate for public education and be a cheerleader for their kids in the classroom.