‘I’ll just remember the uncertainty:’ Educators and administrators look at teacher shortages due to COVID-19

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MARSHALL, Il (WTWO/WAWV) — Educational challenges have occurred due to COVID-19 ranging from remote learning to in-person modified schedules. A new survey shows a new educational problem on the state’s horizon.

According to the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendent of Schools, Goshen Education Consulting Inc. , and members of Illinois State University, Illinois is seeing a teacher shortage across the state.

“This has been extremely hard on educators. It’s very real and it’s been here for awhile. I just hope something turns that would make the profession more attractive for folks to come in to, Kevin Ross, Superintendent of Marshall Schools said.

According to the research of schools surveyed, 93% of schools say they have difficulty obtaining teachers.

Teachers in Marshall have seen and needed to adjust to this on-going issue.

“We have external substitutes just for that purpose, we’ve been struggling to find. As far as the rest of the staff pitching in and trying to cover hours when they can, we’ve all worked very well together,” Curtiss Cline, a teacher at Marshall High School said.

Additionally, this survey states 77% of schools say they have teacher shortage.

Ross says the shortage was present before COVID-19. The Marshall School District has had to fill an average of 5-10 positions for the last three years.

“That’s a challenge, so far we’ve landed on our feet and found people to fill those roles. Sometimes that’s because we’re good , other times it’s luck as well. At some point, our luck runs out,” Ross said.

Locally, the district expects to see minimal turnover this year, leaving Illinois to wait for teaching and life, post pandemic.

“My concern is at a time when we need to be building salaries, building benefits, building incentives for the state to go into this profession, the state is back in flux on it’s finances,” Ross said. “Five years from now, if the state of Illinois’ finances can’t be fixed, this problem is only going to be compounded,”

As far as the current academic year, it’s one Cline says he won’t forget.

Ross tells me he doesn’t believe consolidation is in the fore front for Marshall Schools.

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