This new pandemic year has been challenging for everyone but especially for teachers and administrators who have had to adapt to new teaching methods and more workload, all the while kids are more restless than ever before.
Beyond the fear of catching COVID-19, teachers are facing more discipline issues with traumatized kids who have been out of the classroom for months. There is also more work, with teachers having to plan both virtual and in person lessons, as reported by Houston Public Media.
Teacher burnout has led to a stream of departures and a persistent staffing shortage. FBISD has vacancies for about 120 teachers, 150 paraprofessionals and three counselors, said a district spokesperson in an email.
“Conservatively, I get at least three to five calls a week of teachers in tears, saying ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore,” said Glenda Guzman Macal, president of Fort Bend AFT. “I’m not talking about struggling teachers, I’m talking about seasoned teachers that have been teaching for 20-plus years.”
The problem goes beyond Fort Bend County affecting all of Texas and the U.S. The district says it is hosting recruitment events and offering to pay incentives to substitute teachers, which only gives a temporary solution.
The impacts of these shortages also impact students in the classroom by way of bigger class sizes and split classes.
“So what does that leave the kids with?” Macal said. “What does that say for our future? I’m really concerned. I don’t want it to sound like it’s a desperate situation, but it really kind of is. But it’s not hopeless.”