Into the unknown: staff shortages impair learning

As+of+November+12+the+Michigan+association+of+school+administrators+had+an+unofficial+tally+of+21+school+district+that+have+closed+at+least+one+building+since+September+due+to+staff+shortages.+-+Bridge+Michigan%2C+2021

PHOTO KAITLYN JAMES

“As of November 12 the Michigan association of school administrators had an unofficial tally of 21 school district that have closed at least one building since September due to staff shortages.”

– Bridge Michigan, 2021

The pandemic has taken a toll on our workers, educators and students, mentally and physically. 

“That was like legitimately my New Year’s resolution, just to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Christina Villegas high school Spanish teacher said. 

Schools all over the state of Michigan have been closing because of staff shortages and even student shortages. Why is this happening? This question has a couple answers based on who you ask. These staff shortages cause more than school and business temporary closures.

Staff in schools have been on high demand. Schools are losing their staff for a couple different reasons. A big reason is that they have been stretching themselves thin for the past two years helping kids, but also trying to keep up with their even unpredictable life with COVID-19 like having to see students over screens, then later in person but also having some kids still online. Nobody knows how the days are going to go or the months ahead.

Teachers are required to create assignments, notes and tests for both online and in person students. This can be frustrating and time consuming, especially since not just school time is being used but teachers are school planning when they should be focused on their home life. Though some people believe that it is because teachers don’t get paid enough for the work that they do for students. But, if that were true, staff shortages would be affecting only the educators, yet they are also being seen in the lunch staff, bus drivers, and office workers. that have been moving schools or not present because COVID-19 circumstances. 

Having a shortage of teachers and subs is not the only effect of this surge of people not working around the state. 

School lunches have become unpredictable. “We get in there. We don’t know what’s going on,” senior Jaslyn Wilkins said of the lunchroom. “We don’t know if we’re going to have more than just a burger and Bosco sticks for lunch.”

Living in a small town can make it even harder to find extra items at grocery stores like some schools are starting to do so they can feed all of their students. 

“There has been a shortage of food and other implements like trays, condiments, juice, etc.” according to a piece in The New York Times. Supply-chain disruptions have snarled more than just school lunches.

Since this school year started, administration has been introducing new faces to our school to expand our community but also to help bring relief to the shortage of staff and teachers. One of the new teachers is  

Alexandra Doering has been working alongside Elizabeth Cyr as she comes close to her retirement and passes her torch after twenty-two and a half years of teaching journalism. Seventeen teachers have joined the administration during the 2021 year and 7 long-term substitute teachers have signed on.