Innovative Teaching Models Can Solve Teacher Shortage

Innovative Teaching Models Can Solve Teacher Shortage

The teacher shortage is real — and has been growing over the last decade, according to an article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Shortages vary across schools, districts, regions, grades and subject matter. They are most severe in schools that serve larger numbers of students from low-income families and students of color and in subjects like special education, mathematics and science.

Teachers leave for a myriad of reasons, including work overload, compensation and lack of growth opportunities.

In this downbeat assessment, there are innovative bright spots:

1 A team-based approach: Next Education Workforce is working to redesign teaching through a team-based approach, which distributes teaching tasks among a team and deploys educators in new ways, allowing for greater personalization for students — and greater opportunities for differentiation and advancement within the profession.

2 A new teacher corps program: Also promising are teacher apprenticeships, like the “Grow Your Own” program from The National Center for Grow Your Own, or programs run through universities. Apprentices collaborate with a classroom teacher and build into a teacher role over time. In this model, apprentice teachers can get on-the-job training and a gradual increase in responsibility, which could reduce the potential for burnout.

3 Movement on reducing barriers for mobile teachers: Ten states are working to ensure a meaningful level of reciprocity among licensure systems by signing onto the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. Another barrier for teachers moving between states is their retirement funds, as teachers who move are less likely to receive benefits equivalent to their years of service. Progress has been made with alternative retirement structures in places like Washington state, where their hybrid plan options provide retirement wealth comparable to or greater than traditional teacher plans.

4 Increasing compensation: Teachers should be paid more. Enough said. Teachers’ overall compensation could increase with housing incentives and loan forgiveness. The Houston Independent School District implemented a standard minimum salary of $61,500, and the average Houston ISD teacher got an 11% raise last fall. Early signs show this paying off. In addition, Los Gatos Union School District in California has recently provided affordable teacher housing. Similar teacher housing initiatives are in the works in many other districts.

Innovations and adjustments such as these can reduce teacher turnover, draw highly qualified candidates into the profession and improve student outcomes.

Wyoming Tribune Eagle

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