First nine weeks teacher shortages


Sage Epstein

Chemistry teacher Jeanne Westmoreland and Bharti Sharma discuss the lesson plans for the next week. Before Sharma joined Bowie, Westmoreland was covering her classes along with her own.

Emily Loewe, Dispatch Reporter

It’s Monday morning, and you wake up feeling sick. You call in to inform the administration when they tell you there might not be a teacher to take your classes for the day. 

As you put down the phone, you feel your stress levels starting to spiral, as you think of all the things that could go wrong in your classroom without a teacher there. 

Although you feel terrible, you have to ask, is it worth it to go into school to make sure the students are being safe? This is the life of many teachers right now due to the profound shortage of teachers in Texas.

“There is a worker shortage everywhere, and admin has had a hard time finding enough qualified people who applied for the teaching jobs that we have had open,” chemistry teacher Jeanne Westmoreland said.

Specifically, at Bowie, there were various classes, especially in the science department, without teachers. For the first few weeks of the school year, these classes had no teacher and were being taught by substitutes and other teachers who chose to fill in. 

“It took nearly six weeks for them to hire a teacher,” Westmoreland said. “Through these six weeks, there was no official teacher, so I was supporting a substitute by putting all the work on Blend and taking care of all the grades for the students in those classes, in addition to my own.”

At the beginning of this school year, especially with the return from an online school, there were not many teachers or substitutes applying. This caused many teachers to not only have to teach and prepare their own classes but also manage the additional stress of teaching a class that isn’t theirs. 

“We are having trouble finding substitutes, and that is definitely affecting a lot of teachers who are having to cover classes for their colleagues during their conference periods,” Westmoreland said. 

Some teachers have helped out by teaching another class during their conference period and creating lesson plans for other classes while on their break. While this caused more stress on the teachers, it also caused stress for the students who didn’t have a teacher. 

“Without a teacher, we all had to teach ourselves just off of Blend so it was really hard because the sub there didn’t know anything about the subject,” sophomore Josy Stevens said. “We were expected to watch videos and take notes on our own and practically teach ourselves the subject, so a lot of kids didn’t do it.”

Although many classes were able to find other substitutes or teachers, not having one who can explain the materials correctly made it more difficult for students to prepare for tests and quizzes taken in those classes. 

  “It was really hard because I felt like I was never really prepared for the tests because I didn’t know if I was teaching myself the right things or not,” Stevens said.

Even though it has caused added stress to the lives of teachers at Bowie, they continue to help each other with filling in for classes to make sure the students are able to properly learn the material. 

“We want to do the best for the students,” Westmoreland said. “So we sort of pick up the slack where there aren’t teachers or subs to fill the jobs.”