National Teacher Shortage, Why It’s Happening and What You Can Do

Teacher shortage

There is a national teacher shortage following the COVID-19 lockdown years. The shortage, combined with learning loss during the pandemic, stands to have a long-term negative impact on an entire generation of students. 

Teaching shortage woes have increased exponentially, with remaining teachers covering vacant positions, making a challenging job even more difficult.

The disruptions and instructional inconsistency caused by teachers quitting and more students per classroom add to the weeks of additional instructional time students are projected to need to return to pre-pandemic levels of achievement. 

Many teachers and support staff cite low pay as a significant consideration for leaving the profession. Now, those same schools that couldn’t pay enough in the first place have the additional financial burden of recruiting and training new teachers. 

Those school districts will need the budget to address more than wages. 

CENTEGIX Safety Platform

According to the 2024 CENTEGIX School Safety Survey:

  • 65% of teachers reported they have been involved or a witness to a safety incident that took place on school grounds. 
  • 77% agreed that workplace safety has a direct impact on teacher retention and recruitment.
  • 44% have considered leaving a job, or have left a job, due to feeling unsafe.

There is a clear path for increasing teacher retention: more support and a greater emphasis on safety. 

1.  Why Is There a Teacher Shortage?

According to the data aggregated by, there are more than 55,000 teaching vacancies in the US. But the problem is even bigger than that five-figure statistic. 

Schools and districts have had to resort to unique hiring practices to fill many vacancies in preceding years, putting more than 270,000 underqualified candidates into teaching positions, many of those recruited by the promise of a free college degree. 

Teacher shortage

A report from The Washington Post points to the effects of the compounding nature of the shortage on pandemic learning loss.

“The absence of qualified educators also hurts at a time when schools are trying to make up for academic ground lost during the pandemic. Research has shown that a good teacher makes a bigger difference in student achievement than anything else in a school. The impact is especially great on poor students and students of color, who are unfortunately the ones most likely to get underqualified educators.”

The shortage isn’t strictly confined to educators. The National Education Association reported that the 2022-23 school year saw a significant lack of education support staff like substitute teachers, librarians, custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. A lack of support means teachers have even more on their plate.

Tuan Nguyen, the researcher behind quoted in The Washington Post, predicts that the teacher turnover rate, which surged to a historic high of 14 percent in the 2021-22 school year, will decline only slightly and remain at this historically high level. 

teacher retention

2. The Importance of Safety in Schools 

Most teachers’ daily realities involve student fights, harassment, and physical threats. 

While the prevention of violence is the focus, research shows that promoting safe environments helps students learn better. 

The Texas chapter of the American Federation of Teachers surveyed its members’ working conditions and found that on average 35% of participants reported responding to a physical fight in any given week. 

Each moment spent responding to violence or addressing harassing behavior interrupts instruction time. 

The Texas teacher shortage survey reflected national data, showing most teachers spend more than 50 hours a week at work but half or less of that time actually teaching. 

Researchers estimate teachers lose more than six minutes from every hour of instructional time due to distractions, which scales to 10-20 days of instructional time over a school year. 

Teachers who worry about their own safety and the safety of their students simply can’t do their best work. This reflects poorly in the quality of their performance, in their students’ standardized state testing scores, and ultimately in their willingness to stay and grow in the profession. 

Teacher shortage

3. Improved School Safety Affects Teacher Retention

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly one-third of administrators and half of teachers reported a desire or plan to quit their jobs based on safety and school climate concerns. 

Reasons reported in the survey include “stress due to feeling unsafe and lack of a supportive work environment.”

Additionally, more than 30% of educators reported one or more threats of violence or verbal harassment from students. More than 40% of administrators said the same of parents. 

But, with so many teachers reporting safety as a top concern for leaving a position or even the entire profession, creating a campus environment where teachers feel safe, supported, and empowered to do their jobs is essential for maintaining a roster of great teachers. 

Creating a culture of safety on your campus is a crucial element of teacher retention. 

Teachers who feel supported and safe in their classrooms and schools are less likely to experience burnout and more likely to find satisfaction in their jobs. This leads to better teacher retention rates and more stable learning environments for students. 

4. How Technological Solutions Can Address Safety in Schools 

Many schools, districts, and state education departments are turning to technology to enhance their school safety, to support staff, and even augment some of the tasks that create the previously mentioned distractions. 

Automated visitor management systems can make background checks and visitor management processes, freeing up your support staff. 

Visitor location monitoring, emergency response mapping, and badge-based wearable panic buttons can lessen the burden of requesting help in emergencies, reduce the chance for human error, accelerate emergency response times, and empower your teachers and staff to request help discreetly. 

Giving teachers and support staff the tools they need to address safety issues quickly, accurately, and discreetly can help them feel safe and supported so they can return to their instructional time knowing everything is taken care of. 

Teacher shortage

Safety Doesn’t Stop With Teachers

The national teacher shortage has gotten the most attention when it comes to school staffing woes, but districts are struggling to find the support staff they need to keep their teachers in classrooms. 

Shortages in bus drivers, cafeteria workers, maintenance staff, and substitute teachers have made working conditions even more difficult for the already overworked and dwindling teacher population.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in every five requests for a substitute teacher goes unanswered in the US. Those absences require administrators to combine classes, burn out their already short roster of substitutes, and, in some cases, close schools. These are just more burdens for teachers to bear. 

But just like with teachers, substitute teachers weigh safety on par with financial compensation when choosing to work at a school. And the more support teachers have, the more likely they are to stay. 

5. CENTEGIX’S Contribution to School Safety 

The CENTEGIX Safety Platform helps schools and districts across the United States keep their teachers, staff, and students safe as the foundation for a multi-layered, campus-wide school safety approach. 

The platform, built on a private, managed network, empowers teachers and administrators to identify emergencies faster (regardless of severity) and automates notifications for administrators, security personnel, or emergency responders. 

“The CENTEGIX badges have been a game-changer for us. There have been multiple situations, including seizures, a dislocated knee, an allergic reaction, a couple of classroom altercations, and a threatening individual, that have prompted staff to use the three-button press. Our staff response time is significantly shorter with this tool. Responders reach the incident location in 30 seconds or less, regardless of the location on campus. Thankfully we haven’t had a need to use the tool for a full school lockdown as of yet, but I’m sure it will happen, and when it does, we will be ready. The decision to move to CENTEGIX was, in my opinion, a great one.” – Sara Bravo, Principal, Mandarin High School, FL


CrisisAlert is a wearable panic button that empowers teachers and staff to quickly initiate an emergency alert and get help anywhere on campus with the push of a button. CrisisAlert allows wearers to send a staff alert to local responders and administrators or a campus-wide alert to initiate a campus-wide response. 

Integrated with Safety Blueprint, school administrators and emergency responders can pinpoint where help is needed with floor- and room-level accuracy anywhere on campus, even outdoors, and utilize crucial safety assets in the vicinity. 

Safety Blueprint

Safety Blueprint creates a dynamic map of your buildings and grounds that enable first responders to take the best course of action during emergencies by displaying the exact location of all your safety assets, evacuation routes, and utility access points. Safety Blueprint allows for layered mapping so you can see specific views for facilities, IT systems, safety assets, emergency planning, and more.

Visitor Management

Visitor Management technology screens all campus visitors through multiple databases before they enter your campus as they check-in. CENTEGIX Visitor Management can also simplify tardy student and early dismissal processes by quickly signing in late students, printing hall passes, recording early dismissals, and flagging patterns of missed school.


Reunification helps your team create calm in an emergency evacuation situation. Instantly provide visibility into each evacuated individual’s status and assist in reunification with approved guardians.

Teacher shortage

The CENTEGIX Safety Platform Supports Teachers 

At CENETGIX, we know that every educator deserves peace of mind about their safety to focus on fostering healthy learning environments. The CENTEGIX Safety Platform is a multi-layered approach to safety that alleviates the burnout felt by teachers not just during teacher shortages but during all facets of their day.

Quick Response Safety

Whether it’s teaching in a classroom, managing after-school dismissal, or monitoring a busy cafeteria, teachers must ensure their students’ well-being while on campus. If your school is short-staffed, your teachers need innovative tools to make this happen. CrisisAlert empowers teachers to rapidly request help from anywhere on campus, in any scenario. 

Teachers can send an alert to trigger a response with just a press of a button. And since there is no need for an additional phone app or spoken communication, teachers can request help discreetly, avoiding further escalating the situation.

The CrisisAlert wearable badges give teachers the tools to request help in critical situations, whether a run-of-the-mill behavioral incident or playground fall, up to a campus-wide lockdown. With CrisisAlert, they can minimize disruptions, protect their instructional time, and keep their classrooms safe. 

Safety Blueprint gives your school safety team up-to-date and room-level visibility of the entire campus. 

When an alert is triggered, your response team can see the exact alert position on the map, allowing them to deliver the correct response to the precise location in as little time as possible.  

Safety Blueprint also shows responders exactly where all safety assets, like fire extinguishers and AEDs, are located, empowering the fastest possible response. 

Visitor Management solutions give teachers the assurance that every person who walks through the school doors has been vetted against state sex offender registries as well as any proprietary lists the school needs to address issues like custody battles. 

Many districts screen visitors and volunteers the first time but fail to update screenings over time. CENTIGEX Visitor Management screens every guest against state sex offender registries and propriety school and district lists every time they check in, ensuring your school’s information is the most recent. 

Enhanced Visitor Management gives administrators real-time visibility of visitors in the building and allows for visitor access control.

The tool also allows schools to see how long visitors, volunteers, and vendors spend in which parts of the school. This can help adjust policies, more evenly distribute volunteer hours, and even protect teachers from frequent visitors interrupting instruction time. 

Reunification makes it easier for teachers and support staff to locate and account for students during a crisis or evacuation situation. This tool lets teachers ditch the clipboards and manual lists for one comprehensive safety system. It also allows them to scan guardian IDs at pickup points to ensure the safety of each child. 

Can A Safety Platform Help Solve Your Teacher Shortage?

As teachers nationwide consider their futures, putting in place safety measures can help mitigate your teaching shortage. 

School administrators and decision-makers, now more than ever, should consider implementing safety measures like those offered through CENTEGIX’s Safety Platform. 

Wearable technologies, like CrisisAlert, can play a critical role in addressing the teacher shortage by making your staff feel more secure and supported, not to mention empowered to do their jobs while keeping their students safe. 

Schedule a demo to see how CENTEGIX can help you protect your teachers.