September 27th, 2019
Realities of Rose’s teacher shortage
SUN. | 10-8-23 | NEWS
Rose’s English department normally functions with 10 total English teachers. However, the English department currently only has seven teachers, leaving the rest of the teachers to provide coverage. English teacher Karen Medlin is one of the teachers who volunteer their planning period to teach an additional class.
“So this fourth period I picked up is freshmen; they were going to go right onto a computer and I just felt really strongly that that should not be their introduction to high school,” Medlin said. “Part of a teacher’s job is to show them the love and the compassion and get them used to Rose, have them feel like they have some homebase.”
Even with teachers volunteering their planning period to teach extra classes, some students are still taking their English classes online. These students take their English classes through Edgenuity with a substitute teacher present to help. Medlin believes that it is important for English teachers to be involved in student’s education.
Photo by Edward Kennedy
“That’s a disservice to our students and that's why some of the English teachers have volunteered to use their planning period to be with the students,” Medlin said. “A person that has that passion for that class is going to be so much more powerful… they’re going to [be] much better at helping those students than a computer or someone who just doesn’t have that passion.”
Teachers use their planning periods to prepare for upcoming units, mentally reboot, collaborate with other teachers and give feedback on student work. Since teachers are teaching during their planning period, it has affected their lives outside of school.
“Last night I left at 6:00 at night; 5:30 has been the typical time I’ve left all week, because I don’t have the time [during the day],” Medlin said. “I’m getting here earlier and staying here way later, so it has impeded on my time with family and the free time I had.”
It’s not likely the teacher shortage will be resolved soon since this is a state issue. North Carolina ranks 34th in the nation for public school teacher salaries. When adjusted for inflation, North Carolina teachers are making less than they did in 1990, but Medlin believes there is a reason for people still choosing to become teachers.
“It's a calling, it's a gift, so people are still drawn to the career, but it's not pulling anyone else in or making the teachers who are good stay,” Medlin said.
Even with the current teacher shortage, Medlin is optimistic about the situation because of Rose’s new interns.
“She is going to be a teacher,” Medlin said. “I haven’t seen an intern in years, so that's pretty good.”