It’s never been harder for independent schools to staff administrators and teachers, especially in STEM. The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning estimates that one third of the teaching force is nearing retirement and California will need an additional 100,000 teachers over the next decade. The Science Teacher shortage is even more severe and brings its own challenges.
In an October 2021 article, Online Math Tutoring Company, Yup, comments on the math teacher shortage, reporting that in some locations, schools are resorting to emergency substitutes where “the hiring qualifications are that you pass a fingerprint check and hopefully have a college degree.”
A Physics Today article reports a 15,000 to 23,000 shortfall in Physics teachers nationwide.
Across all science, technology, engineering and math openings, the shortfall amounts to about 100,000 in high schools and 150,000 in middle schools. Accounting for future retirements and resignations, the US needs to prepare an additional 10,000 STEM teachers annually for a decade.
Meanwhile, the supply of qualified teachers is dropping even as demand grows. the number of students completing teacher preparation courses is also dropping, from a high of 255,106 nationwide in 2005 to 159,937 in 2019. Add significant annual attrition rates, and you can see what the future holds for schools that do not plan for the pressures that come with finding and hiring high quality teachers and administrators
The result is that there are fewer teachers for more open positions, even as teacher retirements increase and retention levels shrink. Students feel the consequences of this with larger class sizes or unqualified substitutes, and Math staffing may struggle the most.
But there are steps that you can take to improve your competitiveness in a historically challenging job market, and it starts with the job description. List what you offer, not just what you want. Teachers in the market are looking for more than mere salary and benefits – what does your school bring to the table?
- Teacher working conditions – what resources do you have to reduce burnout and support teachers with tutoring and other programs?
- How do you help teachers accommodate the unique challenges of teaching in hybrid and remote environments?
- Acknowledge the effects of the pandemic on student maturity levels and how you prepare teachers to navigate it
- What other development programs do you have to upskill educators, provide tech support, and engage your broader community to help?
- Beyond skills, are you interviewing teachers for emotional resilience, comfort with technology, eagerness to be part of the broader community?
If you don’t have good answers to these questions, it may be time to revisit them at your school to ensure that you are offering a strong value proposition to attract quality talent. Highlight the opportunities that your school presents and acknowledge the real challenges, such as the fact that having to teach online has been for many like having to learn how to be a teacher all over again.
Want to discuss these and other ways to reach the best teachers and administrators for opportunities at your school? Contact CalWest and schedule a conversation today.