3 Ways Technology Can Help Overcome the Teacher Shortage
Is your district facing a smaller pool of teacher candidates or high turnover rates? If so, do you have insight into how technology can help you attract and retain quality educators to quickly fill open positions?
In a recent webinar, Frontline Education and interviewstream joined K-12 HR leaders to discuss modern recruiting technology, as well as how utilizing this technology can help school districts overcome the teacher shortage.
Before we discuss the whats, hows, and whys, it’s probably helpful to know who is behind this webinar! Here is the panel of industry experts and K-12 leaders:
- Mitchell Welch
Principal Solutions Consultant, Frontline Education
- Joey Vasser
Partner Success Manager, interviewstream
- Dana Morrison
Recruitment/Talent Manager, East Baton Rouge Parish School System
- Julie Tobin
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources at Community Consolidated School District
The current challenges in K-12 hiring
The teacher shortage is widespread, and many school districts are struggling to find and hire qualified educators. Although not every district experiences the shortage the same, and some may have shortages only for specific positions, the added stresses are likely consistent. Here are the areas of need discussed throughout the webinar:
“We’ve continued to expand our dual and bilingual programs into our elementary and middle schools. So, we’re finding, as many districts around us, that our shortages are the highest with bilingual educators. Special education is also an area of great need, self-contained special education teachers in particular.”
“In East Baton Rouge Parish, we have 80 schools in our school system, and we have needs in every area. One of the trends we’ve seen is a great number of educators retire, and we definitely have a need for bilingual educators as well. One vacancy is too many.”
What does the data say behind these trends in these respective districts? Are other districts experiencing similar shortage areas? The Frontline Research & Learning Institute (FRLI) found in a recent survey that half of respondents reported difficulty filling jobs across all grade levels and subjects while the other half felt the effects of the shortage in specific subject areas only. Here were some of the findings:
The hardest subjects to fill according to a recent FRLI survey:
- Lead teachers and department heads took the longest to fill
- Mathematics, science, and special education took longer to fill than the average job posting
- Business Education and Foreign Language teachers had the lowest hire rate
What areas or subjects is your district experiencing the heaviest shortage? Share below!
Your action items: utilizing technology to combat the teacher shortage
There are so many ways technology can help position your district for success. Here are the top 3 ways technology can help your district overcome challenges associated with the teacher shortage.
Internal and external technology
When it comes to using technology in K-12 HR, it can be easy to get stuck in the way of how you’ve always done things. For example, maybe your district only uses video tech externally for things like interviews and recruiting (and it probably works wonders). But with that exact same tech, you can expand your use into other internal areas and reap even more benefits!
According to Mitchell, to optimize your efforts to combat the teacher shortage, it’s important to “expand your reach beyond using technology just to bring people in”. Of course, utilizing tech for recruiting is critical to attracting quality candidates, but districts should think about ways tech can be implemented after the candidate becomes a new hire. Here are some of his ideas for internal tech as outlined in the webinar:
- Job-embedded training for substitutes
- Mentor & mentee engagement sessions
- Professional development videos
- Instructional content for paraprofessionals
- Specified talent engagement
“In East Baton Rouge Parish, we wanted to use video technology for more than just interviews. So, we’ve used this technology to open up new areas internally: literacy coaches, math coaches, and social-emotional learning specialists. We also use video technology for equity so that everyone has an opportunity, and everyone has the chance to share or respond.”
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Technology for retention
More than half of teachers leave the profession in their first five years. Once you’ve recruited the best, what can you do to retain talent to avoid this statistic? Making sure your teachers are engaged and continually growing in practice is a good first step. Mitchell says one of the easiest ways to do this is by “leveraging technology for retention”.
In the webinar, the panelists discuss retention and technology with the idea of conducting ‘stay interviews’ during the school year to identify what is going well in their teachers’ eyes as well as areas for improvement. Afterall, when teachers feel respected, taken care of, and have the support of leadership, they are far more likely stay!
Questions to consider for stay interviews:
- In what ways do you or don’t you feel supported in your professional growth?
- If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about your work, role, or responsibilities?
- What types of recognitions and acknowledgement increase your loyalty and commitment to the district?
“Our [new hires] want support, mentoring, and continuous growth.”
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Technology for district brand
When you invest in your district’s brand, everyone benefits. It becomes easier to attract more talented teachers, improve community engagement and maintain an excellent reputation. Mitchell describes the importance of taking time to reflect on questions like: How do candidates see you? What brings a candidate to your district? How did you infuse your brand in the process that candidates go through?
Ideas for showcasing your brand with technology:
- Create personalized welcome videos for new hires
- Announce your teacher of the year with a spotlight segment
- Improve parental engagement with videos that highlight your mission, vision, and values
“People are very visual. They like seeing or hearing (audio or video). You can include teacher leaders, teachers of the year, students, or make short introductions. Anytime you can add a storyline to your system, it’s very powerful.”
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A better way
Though making a change to the way you use technology can feel daunting, the right tools can help. Strengthen your recruiting process and combat the teacher shortage with Frontline Education and interviewstream. This official partnership equips K-12 organizations with the right technology, data, and insights to find the best candidates quickly, increase retention rates, and help build your district’s brand.
- Promote educator growth and market your district brand by leveraging video technology internally and externally
- Improve the candidate experience with virtual, interactive interviews on demand (which they can watch back and even rerecord!)
- Maximize your schedule and get time back from scheduling interviews, handling manual candidate information, and rallying your HR team together to perform assessments
Ready to implement this technology in your district and quickly fill open positions?