Riverside, California 2021-09-10 06:02:06 –
Towards the end of last year’s school year, Thomas Garcia was in extreme difficulty, but in his view he made the right decision to quit his teacher after 15 years.
Like countless other educators, Garcia has loved this profession since she began teaching in Mexico in the early 1980s. He came to the United States in the late 80’s and did a strange job before deciding to return to the classroom. Garcia was a sophomore bilingual teacher at Lacquer Elementary School in the Houston Independent School District. He did everything from teaching Spanish to social studies to math little by little.
For him, there was nothing better than seeing a child’s face after solving a difficult math problem. These were interactions that brought Garcia back into the classroom every day, year after year.
However, that love has been eroded over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has hit both his physical and mental health. He no longer felt safe or grateful. And finally, it was summarized in his life-and-death decision. He was infected with COVID in September 2020 and did not have to be hospitalized for the virus that killed more than 57,000 Texans, but he was afraid of his life.
“Although it will be difficult, I decided to save my life and go back,” Garcia said. “You have to start caring about yourself, and that’s what I decided to do.”
Garcia quit her job this spring after finishing her school year, helping many school administrators call it a teacher shortage. The job is there, but there aren’t enough teachers, the manager says. More bilingual, special education and STEM teachers are especially needed.
This is a problem that has plagued school managers for years, but the pandemic has exacerbated it. Teachers report that the demand for distance learning has spread thinly and is exhausted by constant health concerns. The shortage spread to substitute teachers. Authorities say most agents tend to be retired teachers and many do not want to return to the classroom at this stage of the pandemic.
At some point during the summer, Houston ISD, the state’s largest district, had more than 700 job openings, an extraordinary amount. School officials in Houston attribute this high number to pandemics, wages, and family issues.
The district was able to reduce the number of vacancies to just over 300, but it is still unusually high. Over the past few years, the school district has started this year with less than 100 open spots. Overall, the district employs approximately 11,200 teachers.
The Killeen Independent School District has 270 educational positions, which is also an extraordinary amount. The district employs approximately 3,000 teachers. School officials at Killeen ISD attribute the loss of teachers to a pandemic.
The Waco Independent School District had about 200 vacant seats at one point, but was quickly filled. The district employs about 1,000 teachers. Due to the current shortage, Waco ISD Deputy Director Josie Gutierrez said Waco would not offer virtual learning even if Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill passed by Congress last month. ..
“We had a lot of trouble getting regular staff,” Gutierrez said. “It’s great to have an option, but at this point I’m not sure if it really is an option.”
According to a survey conducted by education software company Frontline Education, there are three major reasons for the nationwide shortage of teachers. ..
The school district states that the university is not pushing out the number of teachers it needs to fill its position, making it more competitive in the market.
Since 2014, the number of newly certified teachers has decreased by about 27% in Texas, according to data from the Texas Education Agency.
The immediate problem with the small number of teachers is the large classrooms, and experts agree that learning in smaller classrooms is the best way to go.
Professor Robin Josius of the University of Texas at Arlington School of Education said the school district needs better support systems and mentorship opportunities to help teacher retention.
Andrea Chevalier, a lobbyist at the Texas Professional Educators Association, said one option for retaining teachers was to introduce a training program similar to that of medical schools. This not only gives young teachers the opportunity to learn from veterans, but it is not just thrown deep.
In 2019, Texas lawmakers mandated teachers’ salary increases with a $ 11.6 billion review of public school finances. The bill also included a merit-raising system aimed at helping rural and highly-needed school districts attract talent. Rarely, the program rewards Texas’ most acclaimed educators with high salary increases that can swell to six-digit salaries.
Waco ISD has added a teacher maintenance fee that allows teachers to earn an additional $ 10,000 over three years. The district has also raised its base salary to over $ 50,000. The Houston ISD has expanded its adoption nationwide, and Killeen ISD has increased its salary to about $ 52,000. Waco will fund the payment of bonuses through Federal Relief Dollars.
The district expects these strategies to work as the school’s COVID-19 situation appears to continue to deteriorate.
As of August 29, nearly 52,000 positive COVID-19 cases have been reported among students and 13,026 cases have been reported among staff since the beginning of the school year. That’s about 1% of the 5.3 million students enrolled in the state as of January.
According to the Texas Department of Health, 27,353 new positive COVID-19 cases occurred among Texas public school students between August 23 and 29, the largest week-long increase across the pandemic. I did.
COVID has forced at least 45 small school districts across Texas to temporarily suspend face-to-face lessons. In some Texas schools, the endless horror of teachers dying on COVID-19 has become a reality.
In addition, teachers experienced burnout last year when they combined pandemic stress, taught both online and face-to-face classes, and increased their workload. Garcia said she had been working 16 hours in shifts over the past year.
“”[Teachers are] We have reached a point where some benefits are no longer worth the risks, “said teacher lobbyist Chevalier.
Chevalier said that deterioration of mental health is not the point of conversation when talking about teachers and pandemics. In some surveys conducted on ATPE members, the organization was responsible for the health and safety of teachers, the politics of wearing masks, and then their control.
Zeph Capo, president of Texas AFT, said teachers are now in the midst of a “war zone” as parents, states, and managers are discussing masks and vaccines. Powers ponder their differences, but teachers are at the forefront of sustaining any policy, which creates tension between themselves and the community.
Capo said what is happening now is the culmination of challenges that existed before the pandemic. Teachers are always required to do so much that they have to sacrifice happiness.
“We must change the mindset of this Savior,” Capo said.
According to Capo, two important things need to happen to be better for teachers. The path to qualification as a teacher needs to be easy and salaries need to be increased.
Teachers who teach STEM often leave the district to work in their respective fields because of their much better wages and treatment.
Former Austin ISD teacher Brennan Cruiser quit his teaching career in July after working in the district for 17 years for a total of 20 years in the field. For her, the pandemic has highlighted what is wrong with teaching for a long time. Teachers are overworked, low-paying, and poorly treated.
During the closure period last year, when it became clear that schools and teachers were providing important services to students and their families, cruisers thought it would be different.
“Instead of holding up like this amazing asset we have as a community, teachers were said to be selfish because they were concerned about their safety,” said Cruiser.
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This article was originally published in the Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2021/09/09/texas-teachers-shortage-covid-19/.
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Pandemic’s toll on educators has made Texas’ teacher shortage worse Source link Pandemic’s toll on educators has made Texas’ teacher shortage worse