Ask any teacher how their year is going, and they might shrug and smile – but the data talks.  According to a survey conducted in January 2022 by the National Education Association, 90% of teachers report experiencing burn out. Many are exiting the system, leaving additional vacancies on top of those caused by teacher illness, quarantine policies and substitute shortages. Educator staffing shortages have pushed districts across the United States to their breaking points – and teachers that remain are left to shoulder the burden.

Districts are struggling

The NEA poll revealed that 80% of teachers experience increased work obligations due to vacancies, and that there were roughly twice as many openings as filled positions when the 2021 school year began. It’s clear we have an unprecedented staffing challenge on our hands, but does it really affect the students?

How staff shortages negatively impact the classroom experience

Inconsistent classroom culture –The trust and routine provided by educator-student bonds are crucial to learning in young students. When this connection is broken, a host of problems can arise, such as behavior problems and disengagement. Comprehensive resources like those available through Boardworks can help smooth out inconsistencies between remote and in person learning.

Inexperienced teachers: The Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association reported that 47% of unfilled vacancies are filled by individuals not meeting state required standards.  Specially certified mental health counselors and support staff are also experiencing critical shortages. This means that classroom teachers must do their best to accommodate special needs students in their classrooms without support. 

Breakdown of learning goals: Disruptions in the classroom can bring learning to a standstill, transforming the classroom into an anxiety-inducing place for students. Boardworks can help ease the anxiety felt by teachers and students alike with an all-in-one resource to access engaging, standards-aligned instructional supplements across multiple subjects. Boardworks resources are accessible without the need for elusive login credentials, and provide consistency across classroom settings.

The pandemic has brought these struggles into clear focus at a time when many districts across the US were already facing challenges staffing their classrooms amid low wage growth and poor working conditions. Structural changes are slow and difficult, but the NEA has documented some recent improvements:

  • Rising starting salaries:  One state’s salaries increased by 4.2 percent between 2018 and 2020 while teacher walk-outs in another state in 2019 resulted in a 5% increase.
  • Districts in a city in Iowa hired at least one full-time substitute for each building, increasing pay rate and providing benefits.
  • Yet another state agreed to fund 250 full-time mental health professionals in elementary schools around their state

Structural changes like these are often slow to develop, and the federal funds released to help districts address pandemic-related challenges will not last forever. In the short-term, administrators and teachers alike benefit from new approaches in the classroom. New tools that offer flexibility, seamless instruction, and accessible measures of progress can help overcome the tremendous challenges that staffing shortages pose for districts.

Battle inconsistencies in the classroom with comprehensive supplemental resources

Challenging times call for new ways of thinking to overcome obstacles. This is especially true when it comes to student achievement. Teachers have long been calling for more consolidated and flexible resources for remote instruction. But how can teachers find quality resources that will deliver results among a glut of those that won’t?

Boardworks offers solutions for over-burdened teachers

Boardworks supports teachers and classroom support professionals by providing cohesive and consistent materials with seamless implementation across learning environments and districts.  Because these fully-customizable resources can be used for classroom or remote learning, teachers are freed from the burdens of developing multiple lesson plans for each standard.

Educators may be the closest thing we have to superheroes, but it doesn’t mean you are superhuman. We want to know how you’re doing. Consider reaching out to one of our support staff or schedule a demo to see how we can help your district overcome staff shortages and teacher burnout with our superb supplemental resources.