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How does Teacher Understaffing Affect you?

Ashley explores the effects and causation of the National Teacher Shortage and its effects on FHS students.

To understand how understaffing is affecting our staff and students, we first need to understand why it occurs. After conducting a survey where we got the input of teachers to see the main reasons for understaffing, we found: teachers are overworked and they aren’t properly compensated. Teachers reported that their free periods during the day are spent covering other classes which leads to more work outside of the school’s hours, and added stress.

Understaffing has been an issue nationwide. The U.S secretary of education, Miguel Cardona has continued the fight to raise pay for teachers. In an interview he stated “If we’re serious about lifting the profession, if we’re serious about lifting education, we must invest in our educators. Investing in our educators is an investment in our students.”

When surveying our students they were asked how would having more teachers/staff members in the school affect you? All students that answered believed that increasing staff will lead to positive effects. The most common issue mentioned was the lack of bathrooms open. FHS requires a teacher to be present when the bathrooms are open, but because of the shortage students have trouble finding a restroom to use near them. Bathrooms that are available to use often have long lines. Students struggle with spending less than ten minutes outside of class and often get reprimanded.

Another important point that students made is that school resources are not as accessible as they may seem. Student’s struggle meeting with their guidance counselors, and even their teachers for needed help. Teachers have around a hundred students a year, and can’t always give everyone the help they need during class. School counselors also have a couple hundred students for which they are responsible, and many other responsibilities on top of that. This means they can not always reach back to students in a timely manner.

It is important to understand that the teachers and staff aren't to blame. They are trying their best to accommodate their students. The school community needs to be patient with one another to be able to work coherently.

Image from The Connecticut Education Association

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