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COVID has had countless impacts on the school systems. One of the biggest impacts that has recently become more apparent is the teacher shortage. While there has been a decline in teachers since before the pandemic it has just grown. Many teachers retired or found a new career after virtual learning.
Teaching virtually was very difficult. Learning is hands on, that cannot be done over Zoom and Google Meets. The lack of student interaction discouraged many teachers across America. This also impacted the amount of students who chose to study education in college.
“As more and more teachers retire, we need to have others fill that role and right now, the numbers are not looking good for us,” said Heather Sparks, director of Teacher Education at Oklahoma City University, “It’s heartbreaking to watch.”
Virtual learning pushed many teachers to retire. No one wants to teach all day to distracted students, behind their screens either sleeping or on their phones.
While teachers retire, making the number of teachers drop, fewer and fewer people are getting certified to be teachers as well. “In Pennsylvania, the number of new teacher certifications fell by two-thirds in the 2010s.” The teacher shortage is a growing problem. The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has fallen from about 30,000 a decade ago to nearly 17,000 last year.
States are making efforts to fix this severe issue. A bill in Maryland gives anyone in the education system a $500 bonus for this next school year. This bill is yet to be passed but is up for debate in both the House and Senate next week.
The Learning Policy Institute says, “Another survey in November found that nearly half—48%—of teachers said they had considered changing jobs in the past month, up from 32% in June.” It is sad many teachers want to change jobs, especially recently due to COVID.
As the years progress and we grow further from the pandemic hopefully our education industry will grow as well. Teaching is arguably one of the most important jobs for our society. It is a very rewarding career that is oftern overlooked.