American Education Week, recognized from Nov. 13-17, shines a spotlight on the invaluable professionals who dedicate their lives to enriching our schools.

This celebration serves as an important reminder to pause and appreciate the profound impact school administrators, educators, and support professionals have on our society, underscoring the need for us to stand with them and advocate for a better future.

Openings Have Increased While Hiring Struggles to Keep Up

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the number of public education openings  (including K-12 and higher education) has seen a notable increase of 14% compared to the same period last year. However, the hiring rate in the public education sector has experienced only a slight increase of 3%.

This gap suggests continued challenges in the recruitment process as well as other underlying issues that affect employee retention. It also underscores the importance of fostering strong relationships between schools and communities as well as K-12 and higher education partnerships to create meaningful change and overcome these challenges.

“As we commemorate American Education Week at Kelly Education, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to educators and education support professionals across the county,” said Nicola Soares, president of Kelly Education in a news release. “Throughout the week, we acknowledge the remarkable efforts of thousands of Kelly educators and support professionals. Our dedicated team members tirelessly step in to ensure students continue their learning journey seamlessly, even when their regular teacher is absent. This unwavering commitment to education resonates every single day.”

Unsung Heroes of Education

Nov. 15 is Education Support Professionals Day, and the last day of American Education Week is Substitute Educators Day, a testament to the insurmountable role substitute educators and support professionals play in the continuity of learning, creating a stable environment where students can grow and achieve.

Substitute teachers are crucial in mitigating teacher burnout by providing educators with much-needed breaks to recharge, attend to personal matters, or pursue professional development opportunities. Support professionals, from food service workers, custodians, and secretaries to nurses, paraeducators, therapists, and tutors, ensure inclusion, equity, and the holistic development of each student. The task of recruiting and hiring these crucial players grows more daunting by the day as teacher vacancies continue to surge.

Future Full-time Educators Already in the Classroom

Substitute educators bring diverse experiences and perspectives to the schools they serve, enriching the educational environment. For those who are passionate about making a positive impact, substitute teaching offers a chance to explore a career in education firsthand. This role provides essential classroom experience and a deep understanding of the school’s policies, curriculum, and culture. Such insights can prove invaluable when considering a transition to a full-time position, creating a seamless pathway toward a rewarding career in education.

Through partnerships with select institutions and providers, Kelly Education substitute teachers can work toward earning a teaching certificate or obtaining a bachelor’s or master’s degree requirements.  Last year, more than 1,000 Kelly Education substitute educators signed up to learn about the Accelerated Certification and Education program, highlighting the potential districts must grow their teacher pipeline from within their school community.

Source: Kelly Education