Recruiting and Retaining Teachers in the Post-Pandemic Era

Anthony Bronaugh

March 31, 2023

Let’s begin with acknowledging that education has changed since the pandemic of 2020.  Many teachers, administrators, and support staff have left the profession for various reasons without recruiting and hiring more than districts have lost.  Many educators share that inappropriate student behavior, school violence across the country and the lack of resources (including pay) have many current educators contemplating their desire to remain in education for the long haul.  With the amount of individuals openly acknowledging their own anxiety and other mental health issues, recruiting and retaining effective and trained teachers has left many school districts scrambling and looking for help.  

The amount of stress that current educators face is tremendous. As a former school teacher, administrator, mentor and now education and behavior consultant to schools, I see these effects firsthand.  Just recently, some school districts have gone as far as hiring non-traditional educators to fill the many vacancies.  In addition, school districts across the state and country are struggling to find bus drivers, support staff, and administrators.  So what’s the answer?  How does a school district recruit and retain teachers during these trying times?

Ideally it would be great if salaries could increase to the level that would subside the fears that many new teachers face during their first couple of years.  However, salaries for administrators and teachers have steadily increased in most school districts over the last 10-15 years.  I remember as a dean of students back in 2001 being told that my salary would be $45,000! At that point, I thought I could finally move my family into the suburbs.  A dean of students in some traditional public school systems can start off close to $80,000.  As a teacher in 1998, I was excited to make $27,000 and now a new licensed teacher can start off anywhere over $40,000.  However, the stress and anxiety that many educators face and the increasing demands from the legislature can lead to burn out quickly!  Even with salaries increasing, to retain and recruit viable educators, more needs to be done on a financial level.  Its simply a lack of supply with a high demand.  

If districts are turning to non-traditional educators to fill the voids in the classrooms and buildings, then we as taxpayers must understand that without proper training, these newcomers will be exposed to the same issues that every other educator faces, but without the training…thus leading to more problems and more empty classes.  It would be like if there were a shortage of doctors and the medical industry said that due to this shortage, we will change the criteria or expedite the process so that we can fill the voids.  While this may solve one issue, will the patients receive the same type of care as they would from a trained professional?

Although I suspect most school districts that are hiring non-traditional educators are well aware of the pitfalls, without substitutes in those classrooms, adequate substitutes for transportation and campus security, we expose our children and adults to greater harm than good.  In turn, what has happened is administrators and teachers are covering classes, buses arriving and departing late, lack of supervision in the hallways and cafeterias and more importantly, we are not preparing our students with fidelity as we promise with our mottos and introductions of new programming and partnerships.  I submit to our community today that if this editorial seems like a dark cloud over education, then you are right!  However, for those individuals that value education not only for themselves, their children, their community and our future…I challenge each and everyone to help encourage our able and willing workforce to consider entering the education field!  

Anthony Bronaugh Sr., M.Ed., BCBA is originally from Dayton, Ohio. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo with a Bachelor’s degree in English Education, a Master’s degree in Administration and Supervision and a National Board Certified Behavioral Analyst, (BCBA).  

Mr. Bronaugh is currently the owner of AB Education & Behavior Consulting LLC.  AB Education & Behavior Consulting LLC utilizes over 20 years of educational experience as a teacher, administrator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst to assist schools and organizations to achieve at their highest level using applied behavior analysis techniques along with social & emotional learning.  

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