It might sound obvious, but for schools to serve their purpose, they need teachers. As we head into the end of the 2021 school year, schools have taken a hit when it comes to filling and retaining teaching jobs. The pandemic has pushed many teachers out of the classroom, some for good. Many schools simply don’t have enough teachers or substitutes to remain open when some staff members may get sick and have to quarantine. For some teachers, the stress of teaching remotely, on a hybrid schedule, along with the risks of in-person classes has been overwhelming. It’s no wonder the teacher shortage has gotten worse.
As of April 2020, there were 468,800 education jobs lost. “More K–12 public education jobs were lost in April than in all of the Great Recession,” states a comment in a post from the Economic Policy Institute.
Without a doubt, as schools navigate through 2021 and into 2022, more teachers are needed. But teaching may not be very attractive to a lot of future educators right now. How can you attract educators, or find those currently seeking jobs?
Finding teachers for your school
The best way to fill open teaching positions at your school is to get the word out. That’s what job boards, like EnrichingEd Jobs are for. Posting jobs online will amplify reach, getting your jobs in front of more potential employees.
But there’s more to it than simply posting the job title and listing the salary. Creating a detailed job description, selecting categories and tags, and saying a little something about your school will give jobs seekers a better feel for the position you’re offering. The more specific you are, the more likely you will be to find an educator who is a good fit.
The bottom line is that schools seeking new teachers ultimately want to serve the needs of their students. And teachers want the best for their students as well. Finding those teachers will help your students get what they need. And if your school has supports in place to help new hires, they’ll be more likely to stay.
Let’s talk a little bit more about what we mean by supports, and how these can help retain teachers.
It’s one thing to hire teachers and make teaching positions seem appealing. It’s another thing to retain those teachers once you hire them, as well as the teachers you currently have at your school.
What is needed? For one, empathy, especially for those in a leadership role. If you are a school administrator, put yourself in the shoes of your teachers.
Walk yourself through what their typical day looks like, and consider their pain points. What could be done to help? Could their workload be lessened, for example, as one article highlights, by cutting meetings down in length? Could there be a more even distribution of tasks? If no substitutes can be found, could you or your fellow administrators step in to help out?
Often, teachers quit because they are burnt out and there is a lack of support in the school. Consider providing mental health services to teachers, useful professional development, and an admin team that makes an effort to communicate with them.
If possible, can your school give teachers the option to teach remotely? Many teachers have health conditions that put them at high risk if they were to contract Covid-19. Or they may have family members who are at risk. Giving them the option to teach remotely will help them to stay safe, which in turn will benefit your school community.
A silver lining
And it’s not all bad news. The challenges of the past year have actually moved some graduates to be even more motivated to start their teaching career, and they’re eager to get into the classroom. Their experiences during the pandemic make them feel better able to identify with their prospective students.
Think too, of how this pandemic has shifted the way people think about teaching and the difficult, yet essential job teachers have. Inequities in schools have been exacerbated and as a result, more visible. It’s a time to think about how school has been done, and how it could be done in the future to benefit students.
One thing is certain: schools need teachers. But teachers also need to be supported in order to keep teaching, and stay in schools. We hope to help you find the right educator for your school, and if you’re an educator looking for a job, we hope to connect you with a position that helps you do what you do best, enrich students’ lives. The teacher shortage is very real, but we know that as the months go by and into the next school year, educators all over the world will continue to do their very best for their students.