Due to the shortage of staff some school districts have decided to cancel classes. Some districts are also reconsidering their hiring criteria. This can result in chaos at schools.
In the event that Amber McCoy called in sick this autumn, there wasn’t an alternative teacher available to be in her fourth-grade class located in Huntington, W.Va.
Instead, the children in Kellogg Elementary School were instructed by a rotating team of seven staff members which included the principal assistant who was off for every 45 minutes.
The biggest worry Ms. McCoy has it that, one day, a lot of teachers will be absent and there will be no one to replace them.
All over the country, certain schools are about to be closed. The schools in Seattle will be shut down on Friday due to the fact that they allowed too many employees to have the day off after this year’s Veterans Day holiday. The Michigan school district is already shut down for a few days for a month. Some Colorado school districts have been switched towards remote-learning this week. Meanwhile, other institutions completely cancelled the classes.
The situation is so severe that substitute teachers who previously earned very little pay are now in demand. In some cases, it has resulted in a rise of payment – and regular work.
However, as the pressure mounts certain schools are cutting the requirements for teachers who substitute – criteria that were much lower than for those who applied for full-time positions. The situation has gotten so urgent that in the past month two states, Missouri and Oregon, temporarily canceled previous college requirements for potential candidates.
The actions have raised worries among parents, teachers and policy makers. It’s already clear that the combination of school closures and remote learning has led to significant decrease of academic performance.
Although Mrs. McCoy is thankful for the faculty at the school that took on the task of teaching her 4th graders; she acknowledges that the majority of them weren’t prepared to perform the job.
Increased stress, low wages and difficult workplace conditions have bothered this field for many years. However, the fear of getting infected with COVID-19 has led to complete chaos. Teachers are leaving the profession, or resigning early.
Oregon used to have 8,290 certified substitute teachers. However, by September 18, the number had been reduced by half. In order to create a larger pool and increase the number of substitute teachers, the state created a new license. The substitutes don’t have to pass multiple tests or possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree. They must be at least 18 years old and sponsored by the charter or district school and be of “good moral standing.”
Within the two weeks following Oregon adopted its law, over 180 people were interested in working as substitutes at Portland public school.
In the meantime, schools continue to depend on substitutes to take over the load. Teachers are worried that this could be what many classrooms could end up becoming – some kind of babysitting.
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