What's Going on in the Classroom?

Have you had the urge to shape young minds but no teaching experience? Are you interested in being able to have summer break (more than likely unpaid, but a break is a break)? If you have military experience or a degree, you could slide into teaching without a certification. For now, and in select states. That’s right, some states are combating the reduction in the number of teachers by recruiting those who normally would not be in a classroom (within reason, of course). For example, In Florida, military veterans have been given the opportunity to teach without having prior teaching experience. To be clear, there is training that is provided, so it is not as if the military veterans would be going in blind. While some are upset and concerned that the fast-track teaching program will not be adequate enough to prepare the new veteran teachers, others are hopeful that their presence will provide some relief. Des Moines, Idaho is doing something special as well- they are offering money to keep their teachers in place. Public school teachers who are close to retirement are being offered $50,000 to stay in place for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. In order to qualify for the cash bonus, the teacher has to be at least 60 years old by June 30th, 2023 and have a minimum of 15 years of employment with the Des Moines public school district. So far, roughly 60 people have taken advantage of this opportunity, and in this economy who could blame them. What is the cause of the “shortage” of teachers? A number of things. Remember, teaching is not a 9-5 career and requires someone who is willing to work prior to, during, and after school hours. The job never stops just in the classroom as most teachers end up needing to grade, attend and participate in faculty meetings, and prepare their materials for their classes. Some teachers go above and beyond and will support the kids they teach in their extracurricular activities by attending competitions, recitals, and sporting events- and even then, a few teachers will take it even further and provide clothes, food, and other necessities for children in need. Now to put it in perspective, the average teacher’s salary across the United States is $61,730 in 2020. The average varies from state to state +/- $10,000 of that average. Now, consider that public school teachers with a master’s degree will make about $5,000 more per year than their colleagues who hold bachelor’s degrees. Even that is $7,000 less per year than the national average across all professions, so is it worth teaching and having an advanced degree? Considering all of the work, time, and personal money that goes into teaching and supporting the children, those who are still working in the classroom are either working for the retirement benefits or truly passionate about teaching and education.