Teacher shortage leaves schools in dilemma


The Teacher’s desk sits empty during the school day due to lack of teachers.

Emma Rice, Reporter

Since the start of 2019, schools have been in a desperate need of teachers in the United States. According to eSpark learning, in the 2017-2018 school year, the amount of teachers rose from 2.9 million to about 3.5 million, but in the 2019-2020 school year, it dropped to about 3 million.   


“I believe one of the causes of the shortage of teachers is that the salaries of teachers fall shorter than the salaries of other professions,” said Jessica Shover, 5th grade math teacher at Newville elementary. “Inflation rising does not help either.” 


According to Shover, the Federal level needs to get better at spending their money more wisely. Shover said, “The low salary wouldn’t be as bad if the federal government would give schools more money to pay for school supplies and other needs. On average I spend about $800 of my own money for my classroom and making sure my students have everything they need for a great education.” 


Money may be one of the causes for this teacher shortage, but the teacher shortage also takes a toll on students as well. Shover said, “Teachers don’t have the same teaching style. So when a substitute comes in and tries to teach a new lesson, it can be confusing for the students and can cause the teacher to have to backtrack and reteach that lesson.” The whole point of teachers is to teach students and help them become successful people.

So when there are very few teachers and need to have substitutes or teachers covering other classes, it can become too much and the students are not getting the proper education they need.When teachers are covering for a class, that doesn’t mean they know anything about the subject. If that teacher has to teach a new lesson, they might be trying to figure out the subject while trying to teach students about it as well. 


“Hopefully one day the teacher shortage will get better,” said SaraBeth Fulton, agriculture department teacher. “But to do that, there has to be some steps implemented for it to start getting better.”  In Pennsylvania, the government is taking those steps to hopefully help this teacher shortage. Some of those steps include teaching education classes in vo-tech schools and starting to pay student teachers. 

According to the article “WHYY”, it takes several months for the state to certify a new teacher. With the CTE program, they hope to get teacher certification down to 15 days.  Senator Vincent Hughes said, in an ABC27 news article, “The number of folks who are getting certified as teachers was 20-thousand 10 years ago. Last year, it was six-thousand. [We have heard of people that] didn’t make it all the way through [student teaching] because they could not financially handle the challenge of being in the classroom. Very few of us can go three or four months without compensation.” 


Hopefully these two small changes made, will make one big overall difference.