BALTIMORE — Maryland school administrators fear they won't have enough teachers in their classrooms when many students head back to school in August. The workforce shortage was a big topic for discussion at the Maryland State Board of Education's meeting Tuesday night.
Schools are not immune from ‘the great resignation.’
More than half of the teachers who have quit during the pandemic are relatively new teachers, those with less than five years of experience.
The state is not only trying to make it easier to become a teacher but to tempt people with more money in an effort to rectify the problem.
State superintendent of schools Mohammed Choudhury said “Covid really did create a realignment in many things that enabled people to reassess what they wanna do and such. and so how do we turn the tide before it becomes a complete disaster.”
The State Board of Education is tackling the teacher shortage head on, but with only about a month to go before school starts, administrators are still worried there won't be enough teachers in Maryland to go around.
Choudhury laid out reasons why Maryland teachers are quitting their jobs at an alarming rate.
About 40 percent voluntary resign and get out of teaching, while about 25 percent leave for another education related type job.
About another 20 percent are opting out of teaching for retirement.
To make teaching in Maryland an offer they can't refuse, the State Board of Education is offering national board certified teachers an additional $17,000 bump in pay, along with support for program fees and professional development credits towards educator certificate renewal.
Choudhury addressed what research says is driving away so many teachers from the profession.
“Its everything related to pay, professional autonomy and culture of the school. Culture of the school may have those things [discipline] tied into it, but it's also other things as well. Do I have a mentor? Do I feel supported? am I an island?,”Choudhury said.
To combat the problem, many public school systems are hosting job fairs.
Some teachers are getting interviews or even job offers on the spot.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore City Public School System also is looking at hiring substitute teachers to help fill the void.