The issue, according to industry experts, is that no one wants to be a teacher anymore. Numerous factors have contributed to a decline in its appeal as a professional path.
An easy approach, according to Teach for America’s regional director, is to make teaching a more appealing career option.
An official assessment from the Florida Education Association found that more than 9,500 teaching and support jobs throughout the state are empty.
A report claims that more than 450,000 Florida kids began the school year without full-time, credentialed instructors in their classrooms last year.
Teach for America’s regional director, Lakeisha Wells-Palmer, believes the scarcity is due to the job’s difficulty, which not everyone can handle. “We are responsible for academically growing and supporting students on a day to day basis.” Wells-Palmer said. “Teachers are with students for more than eight hours a day. So the profession is hard in itself.”
It has been four years since a poll of high school students indicated that just 5% were interested in becoming teachers.
There was a 23% decline in the number of students enrolled in teacher training programs between 2008 and 2016.
Pay is also a major issue. In spite of recent efforts by the state of Florida to raise the base compensation for new teachers, the overall average teacher income in Florida is $51,167, which is below the national average of $65,293. “We are the most needed profession, yet we get paid the least we are the ones that create the next generation, next generation of doctors, lawyers, and other key professions,” Wells-Palmer said. “And teacher pay is something that needs to be addressed.”
State education departments should take urgent action to address these challenges, including:
- Increasing the number of new teachers we hire and develop
- Increasing wages, at least to the national average
- Allowing high-performing instructors to be employed for extended periods of time.
- Teacher dissatisfaction is also being caused by the growing politicization of the profession as a whole.
Teachers’ ability to serve as mentors and resources for their pupils is hailed as an appealing feature of the profession, but others fear that it may soon be lost.