Teacher and Sub shortage at El Dorado High School.

Armenia Vartanian

Recently there’s been a teacher and substitute shortage at El Dorado High School. Not only is there a lack of teachers but substitute teacher employment is declining slowly. There are multiple factors influencing this trend but the extra stress on teachers and students because of the 2020 pandemic has not helped. Because there is a lack of substitutes when teachers have to leave school for their health or family matters, classes have to report to the arena. Coaches are watching over three classes at a time and students aren’t learning as efficiently as they could be. 

Margaret Roque and David Valero, two 10th-grade students at EHS feel that teachers aren’t treated kind enough or paid enough. “I feel like teachers aren’t paid enough for all of the work they’d so that’s why they’re quitting,” said Roque. “It’s frustrating that teachers have to go through so much,” said Valero. Many others feel the exact same way and are concerned.

This shortage in the education system is not limited to the El Dorado school district. In an article by Foward Arkansas, the Arkansas teacher shortage was addressed along with its consequences. “Many Arkansas school districts are facing severe teacher shortages. This shortage is concentrated in the Southern and Eastern regions of the state and is due not only to a lack of qualified teachers but also a lack of diversity in the teacher workforce, resulting in widening educational equity gaps for students,” said the website.

This problem is also a problem around the country. The U.S. has had a steep decline in teacher staff over the past few years. In an article by U.S. News, written by Lauren Camera, this lack of applicants across the nation is discussed. “More than half of all public schools in the country reported that they were understaffed at the start of the 2022-23 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the research arm of the Education Department, and 69% reported that too few teacher candidates applying for open positions,” said Camera.

Math teacher Zachery Rogers shared his experience as a substitute and full-time teacher and his views on this shortage. “It was an interesting experience. I was in a master’s program. It was a master’s in education, and I wanted a master’s in teaching. Being in a class setting, not as a teacher but not as a student, seeing what the kids were learning was a bit out of the ordinary too,” said Rogers.

He explained he likes teaching more than subbing. Seeing his students more makes him feel more respected and supported as a teacher. He strives to help his students exceed in their work and grades and he wants them to become better individuals. Rogers explained that many don’t expect much from becoming a teacher and that there’s a lot of paperwork and patience with being a teacher. There is also a need for creativity in order to find ways to break stuff down for each student to understand. “There are different expectations of teaching,” he said.

Rogers did say he noticed a substitute and teacher shortage and stated that covid, pay, school being dangerous, lots of substitute teachers being retired teachers, not much respect, and others seeing it as a “part-time job” are factors that play a part in this problem. “Once or twice a week you spend a day subbing and the rest of the week doing work. It’s not sought after for a variety of reasons. Pay is minimum wage, the job isn’t as good as teaching, you don’t know what you’re doing from day to day, you have a confusing schedule, and you’re bounced around from class to class,” said Rogers.

He stated that there’s less respect from students and teachers. Rogers sees a big push in colleges now where many people’s motivation is to move away from education because they see education as a “credential factory”. Most wonder what the point of doing stuff that isn’t a grade. “Grades are data, but work with no grade not only helps you understand the assignment better, but it also helps make you a better individual as well.” Rogers sees this as a growing problem in our culture. He said, “There would need to be a massive overhaul. If not, then I see no change for the future, or at all.”