EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Officials with the EVSC are discussing staffing challenges after a member of the school board said in Monday’s meeting he has received many messages of concern from teachers within the corporation.
School Board Member Terry Gamblin says he fears teachers within the EVSC will look to an early retirement, or even resign, because of the demands of juggling a teaching job and the coronavirus pandemic. He says that is a message he’s received many times.
“I do take their concerns to heart," says Gamblin, "and I wanted to bring it up that we need to be looking for ways to try to help ease some of the pressure.”
“It’s times like this that we do have to work together,” added Jason Woebkenberg with EVSC, "because these are challenging times.”
Woebkenberg says the “challenging times” put a heavy burden on his teachers, with 180 required instructional days per academic year, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
Plus, the high demands of both in-person and online learning are putting immense pressure on local teachers, according to Gamblin.
School officials say there is an employee assistance program already in place, but Gamblin fears, it is not enough.
“Sadly enough, many teachers are afraid to speak out, and I wish we could break that barrier where they realize for us to help them, they have to talk to us for us to be able to do something,” shared Gamblin.
Officials with EVSC say the corporation has already seen one resignation this fall, and Gamblin fears there will be more.
“My concern is are we even going to be able to replace teachers?” asked Gamblin.
That’s because finding substitute teachers this year has proven to be more difficult than ever, according to officials. The reasons are pretty self-explanatory.
“Who wants to step out and go into a triggered area like that?” asked Gamblin. "You don’t know exactly what you are walking into.”
School officials say they hope the upcoming holiday breaks will be a breath of fresh air for teachers across the region.
“Hopefully those days will help everyone to catch their breath and reenergize," says Woebkenberg.
Gamblin says the school board will take it one week at a time to come up with solutions for next semester, if not immediately.
Woebkenberg says EVSC never really stop promoting substitute teacher positions. Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a substitute teacher can visit the EVSC website.