OXFORD, Ohio — As students start heading back to class, school districts are scrambling to find enough teachers. One professor said the key to ending shortages is to start training more aspiring teachers. 

What You Need To Know

  • According to a National Education Association survey, 55% of teachers considered leaving the job in the past year

  • Miami University Professor Brian Schultz says the problem is impacting STEM classes and special education classes that have the most need 

  • Schultz says he’s been working to teach and train aspiring teachers to combat shortages 

As teachers start opening their doors to students this school year, Professor Brian Schultz says there’s a looming problem. 

“We’ve been seeing a revolving door of teachers, particularly in the most marginalized communities,” said Schultz. 

He can identify with the issue as a long-time educator. 

Schultz was a grade school teacher for several years before he became a professor and chair of the department of teaching, curriculum, and educational inquiry at Miami University in Oxford. 

He teaches aspiring teachers trying to break into the field, but right now he says low pay, burnout, and extra pandemic pressures are pushing potential teachers away. 

"Teachers are often blamed for societal ills, for the lack of investment in prenatal care, health care, or access to food and food resources. and so that often is left at the doorstep of teachers, and so teachers and schools are often in this tough situation,” said Schultz. 

In fact, according to the National Education Association, 55% of teachers nationwide were thinking of leaving their jobs this year over mounting challenges.

Schultz says many of the teaching fields where schools are running short are in classrooms with the most need. 

“There's been very specific areas across the educational landscape where we see shortages, more pronounced in STEM classrooms, special education classrooms seem to be areas that have the most needs oftentimes. and that's for a variety of reasons. I think that, you know, not only is teacher pay a concern. I think that there's more to it than that.” said Schultz. 

He says part of his work at the university is to help develop future grade school teachers. 

“We invest with students as early as the middle school years in order to help them matriculate through middle and high school, sometimes earning college credit along the way so that then they can matriculate into our teacher preparation program and then go back to their home communities, not only as community insiders, but as trained teachers,” said Schultz. 

He says it’s that training that might help future teachers, but also students stuck in already short-staffed classrooms.