COVID-19 has caused disruption in all professional spheres, but the one that has probably been hit the hardest is the education industry.
The nationwide teacher shortage has led to the creation of short-term solutions to keep schools operating, such as reducing in-person class time and encouraging retired teachers to return to their old positions.
However, there is evidence to show that Grand Valley State University’s education programs are growing and preparing a new generation of teachers for the workplace.
Switching from online to in-person learning, dealing with heightened expectations and little to no increase in pay during the pandemic has left many teachers exhausted and ready to quit their education careers .
According to a recent study of 2,700 teachers surveyed by the National Education Association, 32% said the pandemic caused them to leave their jobs earlier than expected.
What’s more, 25% teachers surveyed in 2021 said they were likely to leave their jobs, mostly for education fashion and health reasons.
Despite the difficulties in the education sector, many students are motivated to work in the school.
Senior Sarah Spencer said she plans to continue her education through college to become a writing teacher.
“I decided to pursue a career in higher education because I want to help students discover their potential as writers, the same way I did while in college,” Spencer said. “I want to be able to discover students’ passions and help them gain the confidence to express themselves. »
GVSU’s teaching programs have also seen an increase in the number of students, especially those seeking a career in P-12 teaching.
Dr. Amy Schelling, associate dean and director of teacher education, credits the pandemic as one of the reasons for this surge in enrollment.
“I think the recent interest could be attributed to the attention that has been given to the P-12 school education and the work of teachers during the pandemic,” Schelling said. “There has been a real spotlight on the profession and what it takes to do it.”
In addition to the attention the career has received during the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth of GVSU’s education program can also be attributed to its reputation in the Grand Rapids and Western Michigan areas.
Potential employers said they are often impressed with the experience, tenacity and passion shown by recent graduates of the program, Schelling said.
“Grand Valley graduate candidates are highly valued and highly sought after after in our P-12 community,” Schelling said. “Several districts said they could not have implemented their ‘Return to Learning’ plan without our partnerships and the help of our students.”
Although it looks like there will be a resurgence in the teaching profession, Schelling said it is becoming increasingly important to take action to prevent teachers from burning out mentally and physically.
“The solution has to come through restructuring the way we view and support our educators,” Spencer said. “Our government must allocate resources to our teachers to support the evolution of the profession, especially in our current world of virtual and hybrid education.
Although the shortage of teachers remains a pressing national problem, GVSU students work hard to become the next generation of educators.