Many of these barriers are economic. Responses have included placing student teachers in schools close to their homes, to facilitate part-time employment to continue their education. They have also worked to arrange substitute teacher certification and to use this paid experience for a limited part of students’ field experience.
Another approach to filling the pipeline lies in apprenticeship programs. Federal apprenticeships have expanded to include various supportive student roles. These programs allow districts to support para-professionals and advancing teacher positions. What is needed is a multi-prong effort to reimagine our classrooms concurrent with building a competent work force to support new structures. Districts and universities that train teachers and state level certification professionals must work together to create a new vision for schools to meet the needs of all learners from the time they are recruited to when they retire. We must create a coherent vision and set up policies on a reimagined systems of schools and educators.
Teaching is a public profession. The population of students, standards, educational research, and materials are constantly changing. A new human resource system for the profession must rethink how we recruit, select, onboard, prepare, induct, mentor, compensate, professionally develop, and continually support the profession in a rapidly changing world. We must all work together to make teaching a more valued and honored profession. If we do so, teacher shortages in the future should not be an issue. Quality teaching for our children in a new system of schools will shape our future.
Dr. Susan Tave Zelman is a former Ohio superintendent of public instruction, and the author of The Buying and Selling of American Education: Reimagining a System of Schools for All Children.