How to combat teacher shortages
There are little things we can all do
Teachers are out and substitutes are far and few in-between. We know that administrators have little to no control over how much salary a teacher is making. So if your hands are tied and times are tough, what can we all do as educators to make our jobs and our colleagues' jobs easier?
Make sure teachers are getting the support they need. Faculty and staff should be working together as a team. Find ways to offer short breaks by sending a coach or other staff members to cover classes for 10-minute periods.
Designate (if at all possible, hire) someone to focus solely on providing teacher support for social-emotional learning. Programs and curriculums are available that offer quick 15-minute lessons to help strengthen classroom communities and relationships as well as address complex topics about feelings. When students are in a healthy state of mind, teaching and learning are more enjoyable and less stressful all around.
Seek feedback from other teachers on how they're coping with stress. No one should work in a bubble. If you're experiencing issues as a teacher, more than likely other teachers are feeling the same pressure. When you seek feedback from other teachers, you're leveraging the power of a group to find solutions to some of your biggest problems.
Provide a professional development day that lets teachers recharge. Instead of loading up on information and data chats, have teachers sign up for an activity that interests them. For example, the art teacher may enjoy leading a guided painting, the culinary teacher might lead a lesson on rolling sushi, or a group of teachers might meet up to play ball.
At the end of the day, it’s important for school communities to know their teachers feel valued enough to return tomorrow...and next school year. Remember, the small things add up, so give one or all of our suggestions a try. We owe it to one another!