MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The pandemic has revealed a lot of concerns when it comes to health, the economy and social issues. It has also brought to light issues with education, particularly the national teacher shortage.
Now many districts are joining a rising program to address the issue.
The national teacher shortage is a problem that started long before COVID but did not get the attention needed.
“People weren't talking, talking about it then, because it was primarily facing low-income school districts,” said Shaily Baranwal, Elevate K-12 founder.
Baranwal said before the pandemic forced people to address the shortage, school districts found ways around it.
“They were solving the problem by giving the students videos to watch or having substitute teachers,” said Baranwal.
She said her company, Elevate K-12, has the virtual solution to the problem.
Elevate K-12 has certified teachers who can remotely teach classes all across the country. Students are physically in the classroom but receive instructions virtually.
“Districts that before COVID would have been slightly skeptical about this format of teaching, are now adopting this format for two reasons. Number one, because they are more open minded to life teaching. Number two, they're desperate. They really need teachers. They really need the kids to be taught,” said Baranwal.
She said going virtual has also turned teachers away from the profession.
“A lot of teachers are also quitting the teaching profession, because it's getting extremely tiring for them to teach in this format. Teaching is one of the last professions that has not been touched with the values that a remote work environment can bring,” said Baranwal.
Elevate K-12 provides training for a virtual teaching format as well.
The program officially started in 2016. It is now used in 26 states including Tennessee.
In Memphis, there are three charter school districts that work with Elevate K-12.
“We as people have to change our mindset that teaching is going to happen in a different way. But it's still live. It's still engaging, and the kids get to work with the best teachers.”
The goal is to create solutions to a problem that benefits our future.