As of August 1st, 2020 there are more than 1,900 teaching positions unfilled in Illinois according to the Illinois State Board of Education website. Last year according to the IASB.com website 56 percent of school districts surveyed felt they had a problem with teacher shortages and 22 percent felt they had a major problem with teacher shortages. Furthermore, a follow up survey showed that 92% of southern Illinois districts had issues with teacher shortages in 2019.
According to USAtoday.com In an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos poll, 1 in 5 teachers say they are unlikely to go back to school if their classrooms reopen in the fall, a potential massive wave of resignations. With Illinois already being in a teacher shortage and a potential wave of teacher resignations occurring if schools do come back to school their could potentially be a wave of teachers that resign.
These are all series issues concerning schools and districts come 2020 and 2021. The other angle that concerns me that I haven't heard anyone talk about is the effect of COVID-19 in our schools and how that will affect our teaching staff. I pray that zero students and teachers get COVID-19 this Fall and school year, but realistically that probably isn't going to happen considering that we are in a world wide health crisis. Teachers and administrators tend to be overworked and overstretched and it couldn't be more true at small schools where budgets are insufficient and staff are underpaid. These rural overworked staff have more stress and tread on the tires compared to other well funded fully supported districts. I foresee teachers and administrators across the state getting COVID-19 and some passing away from the disease.
I applaud the work of our educators and our school staff and the efforts and work they are going through to keep our schools and students safe. I feel uneasy about the teacher pipeline next year and I fear we will have a large amount of our teacher workforce quit the profession or pass away from the disease. Hopefully, I am wrong but with how teachers and administrators are viewed nationally and their average pay rate with their degrees compared to people with same level of degrees outside of education I am unsure that we will be able to close the Illinois teacher shortage crisis or change the curve to bring the teacher workforce back up to where it needs to be.
Blog written by: Andy Jordan Principal