United States is facing a shortage of teachers and the crisis is deepening. The school districts are finding it tough to staff their classrooms and satisfaction level of teachers is getting low. Moreover, the nation’s largest teacher’s union has stated that insufficient wages of teachers is fueling this crisis.

Lower Wages

National Education Association’s unveiled the latest wages data which the union deemed alarming. NEA reported the first-years teachers earned an average of $41,770 in Illinois. This is at least 4% lower in comparison to previous year wages after inflation adjustment.

Dissatisfaction with the profession

Teachers’ job satisfaction levels appear to have hit an all-time low this year. The fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the schools. According to Merrimack College Teacher Survey, the morale and satisfaction of teachers has decreased over the past couple of years. The Merrimack College Teacher Survey conducted a poll of 1,300 teachers and have reported their results. The results depicted a sorry picture of a disillusioned and exhausted workforce. A little over 50% of the teachers claim that they are satisfied at their jobs. Moreover, only 12 percent say they are “very satisfied” with their jobs. In 2012, around 39% of the teachers were found to be highly satisfied with their jobs. In addition, more than half of the participants said that they will advise young generation against joining the teaching profession.

Added stress due to pandemic

Teaching jobs have always been stressful. However, the stress levels for teachers have skyrocketed since the advent of COVID-19. Teachers had to work in a hybrid work model where they have to teach both online and in physical class setting. In addition, staff shortages have also increased the workload woes for the teachers. “I’ve never seen the number of people break down as I have this year. I think the pandemic has dampened that joy [of teaching], and people are trying to find it again.” LéAnn Cassidy, 57, a middle school history teacher in Connecticut who is in her 34th year in the classroom expressed her concerns.

Although, some states like Mississippi and Alabama have passed legislation to increase the wages of teachers but this alone is not significant. Johnson, the Harvard professor said that raising pay is an important piece of the puzzle. However, it’s not the only factor policymakers need to pay attention to.

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