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What Else Can We Do

 

We’re back. And it’s normal. At least everyone keeps telling themselves that.

Twenty one days into the new school year, and I was excited as I entered the building knowing that I would have all of our staff present and working with our students. Until I looked at the staff absence list and realized that we wouldn’t.

One month in, and I still haven’t had 100% of our staff in a single day. There’s usually a lot of juggling, trying to solve the puzzle of how to cover every class or duty. And the big difference from last year is that we aren’t getting subs.

What else can we do?

Our school has approximately thirty staff members. On our best day, we’ve had just over 90% of our staff. That was once in twenty-one days. On our worst day, we had sixty percent of our staff. For those counting at home, that’s 12 out of 30 positions unfilled. Classes were broken up and split amongst other classrooms. There was no art or gym classes. Simply nobody to do them. Some teachers took on two classes. We barely made it through the day. And then had to come back the following school day and do it again.

What else can we do?

On any given day, we are 3-4 staff members short. The cafeteria is short staffed. Buses are late due to driver shortages. Everyone takes on other roles. One day, we cancelled basic skills classes, ESL classes, and special education classes. We’re not supposed to but what other choice do we have?

It’s back to normal.

What else can we do?

I’ve had one position open all year. I haven’t had a single person eligible to interview for the position. Ten years ago, I would’ve had 600 applicants.

What else can we do?

I’m not sure how we fix the system so that it is a more attractive career option. Everyone is trying their best but it’s incredibly difficult just to manage. And that’s all we’re doing- just managing.

We can keep going, but it’s exhausting. We need help that may not be coming.

We’ll try to manage the best we can.

What else can we do?

 

Rich

 

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