Friends needed, teachers wanted

How the nationwide teacher shortage has left us stranded


Alyssa VanHook

The teacher’s empty desk is comparable to the empty spot found in students and teachers hearts alike.

You’ve just woken up for school. You’re stressed, but you know your favorite teacher can help cheer you up once you get to third period. When you get through first period, you start hearing your favorite teacher’s name under your peers’ quiet whispers. You think nothing of it, and when you finally make it to the class you’ve been waiting for, you stop short. Your teacher isn’t there, and their decorations that previously colored the room are gone. The teacher shortage is causing many teachers to resign or quit for financial or personal reasons, and many people are being affected by the loss of these teachers in their schools.

Former choir teacher Collin Price resigned about half of the way into the first semester because he had to fulfill an obligation for another job. Many students were affected by the loss of the teacher from the building.

“Mr. Price was close to a lot of us,” senior Krista Culver said. “It was a good reason that he left, but it hurt a lot of us and put a lot of stress on us in leadership positions. We had to step up to the plate and teach everyone the rest of our music for our choir concert and it made it difficult being in the middle of the semester.”

Teachers have had a lot more job opportunities in recent years because of the countless teachers who have left their jobs, which is one of the reasons why so many schools are experiencing a teacher shortage. This allows teachers to move around to different schools a lot easier and pick the school that is right for them. 

Physics teacher Kelsey Rasmussen recently moved back to Stockbridge to fill former physics teacher Lucas Snider’s spot.

“My grandpa was the town doctor in Stockbridge for 42 years, so Stockbridge has been home to my family for 3 generations.  It’s always been our home base, even though I grew up mostly in Pennsylvania,” Rasmussen said. “I’m thrilled to be back home. It’s a better place to raise our kids.”

Since so many teachers have been resigning or leaving their teaching jobs recently, it has caused some of the new teachers not to get the traditional entrance to the teaching experience that they would normally get. 

“So there’s this thing called institutional knowledge,” world history teacher Corey Baird said. “Just these things that you know how things operate here, you know the culture, you know the history and how certain things have been done, and if people leave for another job, as opposed to retiring, you lose that knowledge.”

Teachers leaving without mentoring the teacher taking their place creates a loss of the passing of knowledge that could be useful for the new teacher. 

“Some teachers are spread really thin on the fact that they’ve been teachers but now are asked to mentor somebody who is unaware of what it takes to become an educator,” LINKS teacher Carrie Kalmar said. 

The speed at which teachers are resigning is creating more work for the teachers still working.

 “I’ve personally taken on mentoring three teachers. I’ve moved into leadership roles way quicker than I ever expected to,” Kalmar said. 

Additionally, the loss of teachers is causing teachers to lose their friends at work. 

“There’s a few that left earlier than I imagined,” Baird said. “And they did it because they had reasons, you know, money, location and fit and whatever, so I get it, but it still doesn’t make it easy. Because it’s been this very unique job where I’ve had the same people to work with. So that’s the hardest thing for me.”

Being a teacher can be stressful in itself, but because of the constant change in coworkers and support systems, teachers can be left feeling alone.

“You find your people that you work with,” Kalmar said. “Like the people you lean on for advice or for support, because you’ve worked with them for so long. And now I feel like I’m learning a whole new set of people. I’m now being the one that’s very much leaned on for support. So I kind of feel like it’s a little bit lonelier without the people I’ve worked with for a long time.”