Texas needs teachers: Statewide teaching shortage creates difficulties for recruitment
With the school year off to a fresh start, several schools throughout Texas are struggling to fill their classrooms with appropriately experienced and fully trained teachers because of a statewide teacher shortage in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as bilingual areas, according to the 2015 Texas Education Agency report.
Many school districts are even allowing new hires to train on-the-job, but these type of issues are making recruitment of new teachers tough.
“I find it really upsetting that people are always quick to blame teachers for every little thing that goes wrong in the education system, but hardly ever take the time to appreciate them when they do anything truly incredible,” education junior Victor Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he feels the positive impact his teachers left on his life and hopes to have the same effect on his students in the future.
“My parents are immigrants and they worked any job they could find,” Gonzalez said. “So getting an education was always important to them and myself. If it weren’t for my amazing teachers who believed in me and helped me with basic things like English, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to even go to college and try to make something of myself.”
Parents and administrations suggested raising salaries for educators, but the problem is more complex than an abundance of allegedly underpaid employees.
Earlier this summer, TEA approved certain shortage areas, such as English as a second language, math, science, special education and computer science. This gives administrators the ability to reward teachers for their work by using loan forgiveness.
Proposals continue to be drafted in efforts to eradicate the statewide teacher shortage, as current students prepare themselves to take on the responsibilities of teachers and fill the void after graduation.
Education sophomore Jennifer Wu said she believes more needs to be done to address the current teacher shortage.
“I appreciate that efforts are being made to help and encourage teachers, but I think it’s going to take more than loan forgiveness opportunities to solve this,” Wu said.
John Kun, superintendent of Perrin-Whitt C.I.S.D. and educational activist, spoke to the College of Education at the Cullen Performance Hall in August to motivate and inspire teachers to fight for their students, regardless of common obstacles like budget cuts and test scores.
“Be advocates for the system and the promise it holds for kids,” Kun said. “Public school teachers have to advocate for the kids and (teachers) have to be more forceful about what they do and what it means for the state and for the nation.”