Teacher shortages are “a retention and recruitment crisis” – News Center

Wednesday, 11/09/2022 • Case Devynn :
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From left Robin Jocius, Melissa Hulings and Catherine Robert

One of the most persistent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education system is the shortage of teachers.

While Texas employed a peak of about 376,000 teachers in the 2021-22 school year, about 12% left the profession that same year, up two percentage points from the previous year. In addition, more than 8,500 teachers retired in 2021, around 1,000 more than in 2020.

A trio of experts from the Pedagogical college at the University of Texas at Arlington discuss how the shortage can be solved and how the problem affects society.

Why is there a shortage of teachers?

Robin Jocius, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction: “While the pandemic has accelerated the need for more solutions, there has been a teacher shortage for years. We are in a crisis of both customer retention and recruitment. Schools and districts are losing experienced teachers through retirement and attrition. Historically, many teachers leave the profession within the first five years of teaching, but experienced teachers — those with 10, 15, or 20 years of experience — choose other careers. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit new teachers. There are many contributing factors, including relatively low wages, burnout and increasingly difficult working conditions.”

What does this mean for children at school?

Melissa Hulings, Assistant Professor of Science Education: “Teachers are being asked to take on more and more responsibility without the right support. Society views teachers as the answer to a variety of situations, but does not provide the level of support, recognition, and resources to help teachers address these issues. This shortage means students have classes with transient teachers, some of whom are not certified, or are combined into classrooms with more students, which is not beneficial for either students or teachers. I think we will see more classrooms being overcrowded or parents looking for other means to educate their children, like charter schools or homeschooling.”

Will the teacher shortage continue?

Catherine Robert, Assistant Professor and Co-Director for UTA’s Center for educational research, policy and practice: “Yes and no. Over the past two years, districts have hired additional teachers to meet tutoring needs and students to catch up on gaps caused by the pandemic. This means that once these funds are depleted, districts will have a pool of teachers who will have to move them back to the classrooms, however, at the moment there are fewer teachers in the pool of available applicants.

The pandemic also prompted teachers who were close to retirement to take early retirement. These problems, as well as the recruitment problems, are causing the current shortage. Once the conditions caused by the pandemic stabilize, the teacher pool should also stabilize somewhat. Rising inflation will discourage further retirements and encourage teachers to remain in their current positions. We saw this pattern in 2010-12 during the recession.”

How can overwhelmed teachers find help?

Robert: “New teachers should ask for help! New teachers should never suffer in silence. Most districts offer induction programs for new teachers that offer a variety of resources. Regional service centers also offer new teacher support for teachers without training opportunities in the district. For all teachers, don’t hesitate to access the district’s free mental health resources. Check with your HR representative for contact information.”

What can be done about the teacher shortage?

Robert: “Continue to increase teacher salaries. Provide teachers with a career path and growth options that aren’t just about student test scores. Larger districts are beginning to offer teacher leadership programs, which are fantastic opportunities to help teachers see beyond the confines of their classrooms. Continue to provide opportunities for positive parental and community involvement.”


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UTA’s College of Education aims to prepare educators for leadership in K-12 classrooms and schools, in higher education, and in educational policy. The goal is to prepare Mavericks as educational professionals to teach, lead communities, and conduct research that informs and shapes practice.

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