BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As the teacher shortages continue to happen across the nation, some Valley school districts are feeling the impact.
Harley Morales, a UTRGV student and apprentice teacher at a Brownsville high school, said teachers are trying their best but could use more support.
She said she understands the pandemic has had effects on the education industry, but she can relate to it after spending about two years of her college education through online courses.
“For me going back to the classroom, I know how the kids feel. I know that they need to feel interactive in the classroom they need hands-on training,” she said.
Morales said even despite some family members’ and peers’ opinions on joining the education industry, she is ready to take on the challenge.
“It’s not for everyone, and I feel like you really have to have a passion for it, and I feel like I really have a passion for helping the kids,” she said.
Ida Abeldaño, the organizer for the Association of Brownsville Educators said passion is something being lost in the industry.
“They just cannot do it anymore because of health reasons, the stress that it’s caused on them and everything else that it’s just not worth it anymore and they’ve lost touch of why they came into this profession,” she said.
She explained that teachers are overwhelmed and burned out.
“They need relief they need some help they need to feel that they’re appreciated, that they’re being heard,” said Abeldaño.
She said one way to retain teachers in the workforce is by providing stipends, which is an item she has been advocating for in Brownsville.
“What we’re asking for is bigger retention stipends, we’re asking for smaller classroom ratios because that will help to close the instructional gap,” she said.
According to the Texas Education Agency, the turnover rate in region one for the 2020 – 2021 year was 8.3%, and the year before it was higher.
The 2021 – 2022 data will be available in Fall 2022.