The covid-19 pandemic has had a lot of effect on our day to day life. It has closed down most people’s source of livelihood, businesses and restaurants are closed, schools are shut down and manufacturers are not able to manufacture at full capacity. It has been a terrific season. one of the most affected sectors is the School system. Even before the pandemic set in, there have been predictions of teachers shortage nationwide, these predictions have manifested early and even much worse than expected due to the Pandemic ravaging the country, the impact of the pandemic is very heavy mostly on primary and secondary schools.
Some schools have been shuttling between in-learning and virtual learning, some online classes are even as large as 50students, so as to keep up with the calendar, but even these are strenuous on the teachers. Most of them now have to work extra hours to meet up, and no extra pay is being given to them, the frustration that comes with worrying about your safety and the safety of the kids is also a factor, most teachers think it is not worth it and are quitting the school system. In Arizona, as many as 751 teachers have quit their job during the 2020-21 academic session, most of them citing COVID-19. In Michigan, they reported that they need about a third of substitute teachers to cover classes.
Also during the total lockdown enforced by the governments, most teachers were not earning and had to look for other means to survive, as schools open, most of them don’t think it’s worth going back to the classroom, in which they can be at risk of contracting the deadly virus, as the government is not providing enough measures to protect them.
There has also been a shortage of substitute teachers nationwide, most schools have been employing parents and even bus drivers as substitute teachers to fill in the gap. Normally retired teachers and part-timers are lined up as substitute teachers to fill in the gap when the full-time teachers are not available, but due to the ravage the virus has done to society, most of the substitutes have declined to fill the gaps. Cases are surging and most teachers are forced into quarantine, the substitutes feel that the income is not worth the risk, as most of them are aged or have a terminal disease, and can easily get fatal should they contract the virus.
To fix this issue, some schools are employing unlicensed persons to serve as supervisors for in-learning classrooms, whilst the licensed teachers (some who are in quarantine) can tutor the kids through virtual learning. Administrators in the education system are also redeployed as classroom teachers so as to feel the gaps.
A temporary solution can be implemented to solve teacher’s shortage, by adopting tech enabled learning. Students can learn comfortably from their home using google classroom or Zoom. They can also assemble in their classrooms together and communicate to their teacher using these methods, under the supervision of a substitute teacher or an administrator.