Can Temporary Workers Play a Role During North America’s Teacher Shortages?

March 14, 2022

teacher in classroom Temporary Workers Are Available to Step in During These Difficult Times

The education industry is facing a significant teacher shortage that is putting the education of North America’s children at risk. With limited resources, a lack of supply teachers, and general burnout, educational workforces are feeling an incredible strain that could mean the next generation of young adults could be less educated than those who graduated before them. As the education industry continues to recruit skilled professionals to fill roles, including supply and administrative staff, temporary workforces may be an unconventional approach to addressing these issues.

Many school boards across North America have struggled to maintain operations and, at times, opted to temporarily close schools because of these labor challenges. In other instances, teachers have given up their lunch hours to cover classes for absent teachers, increasing stress levels and eventually leading to complete exhaustion. With no end in sight to these challenges, public education leaders and government officials may need to get creative to ensure schools remain productive and focused for years to come.

Why is There a North American Teacher Shortage?

The simple exposure to a positive COVID case can prompt many teachers to stay home as per the guidance of their school board. Classroom sizes often require students to sit in close proximity to one another, and should a staff member or student test positive for COVID, a large portion of students and staff will need to be sent home for testing.

With limited teachers already available, positive cases can further exacerbate labor shortages, putting pressure on other teachers to fill in for staff that need to self-isolate.

kindergarten teacher The Role of Temporary Workers in Public Education

Becoming a teacher in North America is a long and complex endeavor that requires university education and specialized teaching certification. These roles were in high demand in the past, with hundreds of candidates applying for a single position. But now, workforces have been slowly aging, while the COVID-19 pandemic prompted widespread early retirements. There are too many vacant job openings, a lack of supply teachers, and no new candidates to fill these roles. The long-term vision of a healthy educational system includes full-time teachers leveraging the support of administrative staff and supply teachers, ensuring that every student gets the attention and educational resources they deserve.

In the United States, many schools have had to call local police officers and the National Guard to cover classes and fill in for supply teachers. In other instances across Canada, many soon-to-be teachers in training have had to expedite their learning, complete teacher’s college quickly, and immediately be placed in a role that they may not be qualified to teach. The result is a workforce struggling beyond their abilities with limited support staff that cannot ensure teachers even get a simple 20-minute break during the day.

Temporary Workers Can Offer Support to Burnt-Out Teaching Staff

Many temporary workers do not possess the skills to fill full-time teaching roles but can complete administrative and support tasks. From covering lunch breaks, cleaning halls, and performing administrative work, temporary workers can be enlisted as support staff for overworked and burnt-out teaching staff.

In remote and rural communities where teacher shortages are especially problematic, remote workers sourced out by temp agencies can be dispatched to schools. Overworked staff can lead to a reduced quality of education, putting the future of North America’s children at risk. During these challenging times, leaders of the education sector will need to seek non-conventional methods to address these issues and ensure the next generation of children are highly educated and ready to take on life’s challenges.

an empty classroom Temporary Worker Solutions for the Education Sector by AFIMAC

Educators are essential for North America’s children and families. When schools close, it not only harms the quality of education but complicates the lives of families who must balance between parenting their children and heading to work every day. A successful economic rebound includes a healthy education system with support staff to help teachers navigate these challenges.

AFIMAC Global conducts extensive screening and vetting of temporary workforces, ensuring that only the highest-quality support staff are contracted out to the education sector. Should your school board be facing widespread labor shortages, AFIMAC can work quickly to ensure you remain open and ready to provide quality education to students. Contact AFIMAC directly by filling out the form below and learn more about how AFIMAC can support burnt-out staff, dispatch quality temporary workers quickly, and ensure long-term viability against the many challenges the education industry is facing.
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