Replacing teachers who are stepping aside and discovering teachers for new classes can be tough. What can we do in those moments? In this two part series, I want to offer a response to the crisis of teacher shortage. In Part 1, I shared ideas for when the teacher shortage crisis comes with little or no notice. In Part 2, I will share ideas for planning ahead to be prepared for these unexpected times.
Life happens. We never know when some teachers or workers will choose to step aside. But some are easier to anticipate. A teacher is talking about retiring from work soon and relocating. Another is selling her home to move closer to her children. A teacher in failing health has been talking to his class about stepping aside at the end of the year. A couple teaching a coed class share with you about their burnout and need for a year off.
What can we do to ensure leaders are ready and available to step into vacated positions as well as to help start new classes that are needed? Consider these possibilities:
- invite selected individuals to a potential teacher class six months in advance of when you will need new teachers,
- ask current teachers to write down the name(s) of 1-3 people they believe would make a good teacher,
- look through the list of VBS teachers and workers,
- ask current teachers to apprentice a teacher before they step away,
- ask current teachers to apprentice a teacher to be sent out to start a new class,
- ask a potential teacher to read a book and talk about the chapters with you,
- send a potential teacher into a class to observe a class for a month and debrief the experience weekly, and
- help a potential teacher to prepare a lesson to be presented with the current teacher present followed by debriefing the experience.
These are but a few of many ideas. Keep your eyes and ears open. Observe. Listen. Ask. Invite. Don’t make mass announcements about teacher needs. Be proactive about training one or more. Apprentice. Read. Work together. Be prepared before there is a need. Develop your leadership pipeline now. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!