This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 27, 2006

Teacher Shortage Looming

Author/consultant Ira Wolfe, known for his work around the "Perfect Labor Storm," shares a thought-provoking fact from the National Center for Education Information. The center's research reveals that "a total of 40 percent of public school teachers say they don't expect to be in the classroom five years from now. The rate is expected to be even greater among high school teachers, half of whom plan to be out of teaching by 2010."

This statistic serves as a serious warning. Replacing forty percent of expertise is difficult under normal conditions. At a time when it's increasingly challenging to recruit enough people to manage moderate attrition, having to acquire suitable replacements for almost half of your workforce can be overwhelming.

The issue is complicated by growing needs. The influx of new families into many communities is increasing student populations. More students mean more classrooms…and more teachers. Additionally, student/parent desire for fewer students per class for greater learning intensifies the demand for new teachers. Today's technological advances and the drive to at least stay current with the application of emerging technologies mean that a higher caliber of teacher is usually needed.

These conditions come together to create a recruiter's nightmare. To address the needs, school districts are hiring certified teachers whenever they can. They're also hiring people who know their field, but aren't educated as teachers. These subject matter experts are hired as "lateral hires" with the intention of eventually sending them to teacher training. Meanwhile, they are challenged with suddenly having to manage a learning environment without preparation . . . and being expected to produce students who can pass the required tests. To take advantage of this resource, school administrators will strive to build student motivation.

Schools will become more creative in their organizational structures, teacher qualifications, recruiting, and teacher utilization. Teacher's aides and parents will become more involved with both teaching and discipline. Local business leaders will provide mentors and role models. These changes will affect what students learn, the maturity of their approach, their ability to pass the end-of-course tests, and their chances of landing a good job.

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