Michigan schools are starting to feel short–staffed when it comes to teachers, and Alpena is no exception to the rule.
In recent years, various APS meetings have been held to discuss concerns about dissipating staff. Apparently, the pool of students interested in studying education has taking a dive in recent years. APS Superintendent John Van Wagoner says while the schools have always been able to make it work, finding staff to fill in when teachers are absent has become increasingly more difficult.
“Unfortunately the profession has seen quite a few less students that go into being in the teaching field. So you look at the major universities across the state…for instance Central Michigan University is now graduating a quarter of the students that it did ten years ago. So there’s just less of a pool of people going into education,” Van Wagoner reports.
Van Wagoner adds that if a substitute teacher cannot be found, the school has to find other ways to teach, using administrative staff that should be doing other things, or even pooling classrooms.
“. . . or trying to combine classes, I mean we’ve seen in very, very tough cases, especially in the metro Detroit area, we’ve seen where they put one teacher with 60 kids. You know that’s a situation that’s just not good for kids; it’s not good for a community,” he says.
Although Michigan has felt the strain, Van Wagoner says he’s been fortunate to work with the staff at APS. With their help, he has been able to keep substitute teachers filling in for the most part.