A teacher shortage is expected in many parts of the country this fall, and Texasis no exception.
The Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers announced it expects hundreds of classrooms to be without teachers when school starts next month. To ease the crisis, the chapter said one strategy is to find certified long-term substitutes for vacancies not filled by the first day of school.
Nicola Soares, president of Kelly Education, a service that provides substitute teachers, said the shortage is a complex problem.
“Much of the demand that we see around substitute teachers is really systemic to another issue,” she said, “and that issue being our full-time teaching workforce leaving the profession, and a younger generation that is just simply not entering into the profession at all.”
Certification is not required to be a substitute teacher in Texas, but those who are certified typically earn more money. Soares noted that 20 years ago, about 10% of incoming college freshmen were pursuing teaching degrees – a number that now is closer to 3%.
Soares said many people who secure loans to pay for college may fear a teacher’s salary won’t cover the required payments after graduation, along with housing and other expenses. She said teachers also express fear about working in classrooms because of school shooting incidents. Still others have options that didn’t exist in past decades.
“And then of course, they’re being recruited to go into other industries where they’re being paid really well,” she said, “so those are some of the things that we do see that we’re experiencing. I characterize it as a national crisis.”
If vacancies cannot be filled, the Houston Independent School District said more than 1,300 substitutes already have committed to supporting those positions this fall. Soares believes for people looking for supplemental income or more work-life balance and schedule flexibility, substitute teaching may be a good choice.