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The National Teacher Shortage Crisis and How Homeschooling Can Help

by David Engle | Aug 12, 2022 | 5 min read

With the new school year upon us, parents and students in public and private schools are facing uncertainty the likes we haven’t seen since…well, since COVID changed our lives forever and turned the education system upside down. Which was only a couple of years ago. But the nationwide shortage of teachers is causing major concern and anxiety for kids and parents for several reasons. Before we get into how homeschooling can be the remedy for your family, let’s look at the crisis and the issues it will most certainly cause.

Plenty of uncertainty

Consider these scenarios (yes, they are real): Florida is asking veterans who have no teaching background whatsoever to instruct students. School districts in rural Texas are operating on four-day school weeks during the fall due to lack of teachers. Arizona is letting college students take on teaching duties in some schools. This is what it’s come to.

Would you want your child’s education in the hands of someone with no teaching background? Or an instructor still in school? This is what many families are facing because of a teacher shortage of epic proportions in America. The bottom line is, school administrators will literally take anyone to fill the void so someone is teaching in their classrooms.

While there are no precise numbers to measure the teacher shortage, many states are struggling to fill the hundreds–if not thousands–of open teaching positions in their schools. And they’re turning to some drastic measures in order to fill those spots before their schools open.

Cases in point:

  • Florida making it legal for veterans who served at least four years to teach in K-12 classrooms. While we all truly appreciate the bravery and sacrifices of our military veterans, does their service translate to effective teaching when they have no background? Not necessarily. The only qualifications, aside from serving four years, are that any veteran interested in teaching must have at least 60 college credits and a 2.5 grade-point-average.
  • Arizona passing a law allowing college students to accept teaching jobs–even though they haven’t finished school in their own right.
  • Clark County School District, in Nevada, increasing starting teacher salaries and offering thousands of dollars in relocation bonuses to attract new teachers, and giving current teachers a $5,000 retention bonus to stay in their position.
  • Schools across the country putting administrators with teaching licenses to work as substitute teachers.
  • Arizona’s Tucson Unified School District possibly turning to remote learning for math learning by hiring virtual math teachers from an out-of-state online education company.

These scenarios are enough to have any family rethinking their child’s education options.

Education that continues to lack in quality or consistency

The quality of public and private school education came under much scrutiny throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when just about the entire world was being instructed remotely. Of course, 2020 wound up being essentially a lost year of education for most students, as schools were understandably unprepared for the utter chaos that the pandemic inflicted upon the world.

The following school year, however, after schools had time to figure out online and distance learning, proved nearly as dismal for those who were still learning from home. Even the students who did return to class in person were greeted by literal and figurative barriers to their education, as well as teachers who were uncomfortable about returning to in-person learning and who were growing increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with their jobs. On top of all that, teachers had to expedite lessons to make up for the learning loss that occurred, leaving many students even further behind.

Despite the fact that students are learning fully in person these days, many of those fears are still relevant because of the looming teacher shortage. Think about it–would you want your child being instructed by someone unqualified for the position? Most people would probably say no. Yet that’s what many students are going to experience upon their return to school.

Constantly growing class sizes

One solution to fewer teachers? Larger class sizes! And what parent wouldn’t want their child to be a nameless face among 50 students in a class? Most, actually. Even now, there’s very minimal (if any) individualized instruction for students–especially those who need it most. Classes are one-size-fits-all–everyone learns the same thing at the same pace. If you’re not grasping it, oh well…you’ll just have to figure it out on your own. If you’re well beyond the lessons being instructed, too bad…you’ll just have to wait patiently until the class moves on to the next topic.

This scenario helps no one. In fact, it hinders students and prevents them from engaging in learning and comprehending what they should be learning. It’s hard to envision many students getting excited about their science class of 60 students taking place in the school auditorium or gym. But that will also be a reality for some kids this fall and beyond.

Frustrated, burnt-out teachers

The teachers who remain? Because of the extra load they’ll have to take on thanks to staff shortages, they’re going to be exhausted and stressed out. And understandably so. A teacher instructing a class of 18 is much different than instructing a class of 48. And, per human nature, an exhausted and frustrated teacher will begin to disengage from the lessons and the students as a result. Which means that students lose in the end.

And this is just the latest source of stress among teachers, layered upon the burnout many still feel from the pandemic, historically low salaries, and the fact that many public and private school teachers feel targeted by politicians and parents over what they can and can’t teach their students (another topic for another day).

Homeschooling is a solution

During the pandemic, many families turned to homeschooling as a way to ensure their child experienced stability and received a high-quality education. And many of those families learned first-hand the many benefits of homeschooling and continue to do so, which means they are shielded from school crises such as health emergencies, violence, and the effects of teacher shortages. Just as importantly, they know their child is receiving a wonderful education that is personalized to their learning style, which fosters a love of learning, leading to confidence and success.

Looking at all of the issues mentioned above, homeschoolers:

  • Don’t have to deal with uncertainty. They know what awaits them each and every day. Freedom to learn whatever they like, the flexibility to learn wherever they like, and the confidence knowing that what they learn is taught to them in a way they understand.
  • Receive a high-quality education. At Bridgeway Academy, we make it a point to know your child’s learning style before they even start a class with us. That way, we can work with you to put together the perfect curriculum and education that allows your child to thrive, because they’re learning how they learn best.
  • Enjoy the smallest of classrooms. When you homeschool, your student-to-teacher ratio can be as low as 1:1! Education doesn’t get more personal than that. But it can also be larger, if your family would prefer a homeschool pod or a co-op situation.
  • Always have an engaged teacher. When homeschooling with Bridgeway Academy, either you can be the primary instructor, or you can leave it in the hands of our highly engaged, qualified teachers who are trained in online learning, so you know your child will get the most out of any of our Live Online Classes. And if you take on the teaching yourself–don’t worry…we’re with you every step of the way!

Once upon a time, America’s public school system was the example other countries tried to emulate. Now, with teacher shortages reaching crisis levels, more and more Americans are searching for alternative education options for their children. And homeschooling keeps growing and growing in popularity–with plenty of good reasons why.

At Bridgeway Academy, not only can you put to bed the many worries and uncertainties that come with the current state of education, but you and your child can embark on an amazing learning journey! With the help of your very own academic advisor, you can create the perfect school year for your child. Contact us today at (800) 863-1474 to speak to a homeschool expert or to enroll!

Does the national teacher shortage have you contemplating homeschooling? Have you already switched to homeschooling because of the lack of teachers? Share your story with us in the comments below!

David Engle
Hello, and thanks for reading! I’m David Engle--dad, husband, sports fan, and writer/editor. As a father for the last 18 years (father of two for the last 14), I consider myself to be pretty well-versed in all things related to education, childhood, and parenting, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to share some insights and knowledge with fellow parents. I have been a professional writer and editor for a quarter of a century (it pains me to admit that) and have been writing in the educational space for a number of those years. I reside in southern New Jersey with my wife, two kids, two dogs, and three cats. Never a dull moment.
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