Fauquier is Still Grappling with a Teacher Shortage


Catherine Arellano

Fauquier County Public Schools is struggling due to staffing shortages halfway tgrough the school year.

In more ways than one, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the school system. Even though President Joe Biden declared the pandemic in the United States officially over, students, teachers and schools are still facing repercussions. According to Superintendent David Jeck’s TED Talk, 300,000 teachers have quit nationwide since the fall of 2020 to the spring of 2022. This number is extremely high and schools are struggling to fill the empty positions.

Being a teacher is a highly involved profession. While teachers focus on educating the students, they are also being watched by the administration and parents. When the pandemic began, teachers were tasked with figuring out how to keep the students engaged and learning through technology. Jeck said, “The pandemic was incredibly difficult for teachers. What we’ve seen over the past two or so years [is that] more teachers [are] leaving the profession, and [there are] fewer and fewer replacement teachers.”

As of Nov. 2022, there were about 40 teaching positions open in FCPS1. Students have been experiencing long-term substitute teachers or even a new substitute every few days, instead of the expected qualified teacher. Principal Kraig Kelican said that in FHS, there is an English department position and a food service position open. There is also “a business position that is frozen, and a few others that will be re-advertised for next school year.” said Kelican. Thankfully, there are substitute teachers who have taken over for these positions; however, the students aren’t learning at the same level they would be if the actual teacher was there.

Jeck said, “Stress, difficult parents, not feeling supported by administration, student behavior issues, being stretched too thin, and low pay,” are common reasons shared by teachers across the country on why they leave. Kelican agreed and said, “I realize the pandemic has been hard on everyone and many are still adjusting to the changes and coping with their personal experiences with the pandemic.”

As for FHS, the administration has been working to integrate new initiatives to improve the environment for students and faculty. Some of those initiatives include increasing the number of half days and teacher work days for planning and grading, and allowing autonomy to use teaching methods and teach their classes as they feel necessary. The FHS administration is working to support teachers as best as they can.

The county has worked on increasing salaries, but the trade-off was overall budget reduction. “We are hopeful that this funding will return this coming school year,” Kelican said.