Five Ways Virtual Teachers Can Enhance School Offerings and Address Staffing Needs
Over 75% of states faced teacher shortages during the 2022–23 school year with math, science, and special education leading the way as the most heavily impacted. Unfortunately, the 2023–24 school year will see much of the same; recent national projections show that approximately 163,000 positions are held by underqualified teachers, and over 36,000 positions are still vacant. In the face of significant challenges, here are five ways virtual teachers can address educator shortages.
1. Ensure Delivery of Graduation Requirements
Delivering a promised path to graduation is critical, but what happens when you lose a Chemistry or foreign language teacher and find yourself unable to fill the position? Simply put, we know students can’t bear the gap on their schedule while you search for a credentialed educator. Virtual learning with a dedicated, highly specialized teacher can be a quick-turn solution to keep doors open and students learning without undermining the quality of curriculum and instructional practice.
Virtual teachers can also help you stretch farther with less. Missing an upper-level high school English teacher in two of your buildings? While you continue your search for a local teacher, one virtual educator can support both needs with the benefit of being virtual combined with intentional scheduling.
2. Deescalate Overloaded Classes and Scale for Growth
While schools across the nation battle staffing gaps, the remaining educators are asked to do even more. It’s no surprise that teachers continue to struggle with teacher burn out and feelings of fatigue. Don’t risk the retention of your current staff by overloading their classes and responsibilities with even more.
Instead, consider how virtual instruction can offload an entire class, by way of a state-certified teacher stepping in, or providing targeted support and intervention through a virtual tutoring option that increases the capacity of the classroom teacher. Both options can help alleviate major pain points and allow your educators to reconnect with the passion, spark, and excitement of education that brought them to the teaching field initially.
Additionally, managing fluctuating enrollment demands can be a daunting task for district administrators. However, virtual instructors provide a scalable solution to meet these dynamic needs with ease. By harnessing the power of virtual teaching resources, districts can swiftly adapt to accommodate increased enrollment without sacrificing the quality of education. This agility ensures that all students receive a positive and enriching learning experience, irrespective of changes in the student population.
E-learning solutions provide a seamless platform for virtual teachers to engage with a larger number of students simultaneously. Teachers can create a community and encourage interaction among students in remote learning using virtual classrooms, discussion boards, and collaborative projects.
3. Address Long-Term Absences
Unforeseen long-term teacher absences can disrupt the flow of learning and impact students' educational journey. However, with the strategic integration of virtual teachers, schools can ensure uninterrupted learning experiences. A dedicated virtual teacher can act as reliable stand-ins, stepping in to fill the gaps created by long-term teacher absences. Supported by on-site staff, they leverage direct instruction, one-on-one conferences, and small group interactions, ensuring students remain actively involved in their learning.
Through e-learning solutions, instructors go beyond traditional teaching methods, embracing technology as a powerful tool to enrich the educational experience. By blending interactive content, real-time assessment, and collaborative learning opportunities, virtual teachers create a vibrant and dynamic learning environment that sparks students' curiosity and inspires a lifelong love for learning.
4. Expand Course Offerings & Specialized Learning Opportunities
Districts often struggle to find qualified teachers for specialized courses such as CTE, AP, and world languages. This scarcity of qualified instructors can result in limited course offerings and diminished learning opportunities for students. Virtual teachers step in as a practical solution to fill these hard-to-staff positions, ensuring students receive high-quality instruction.
They also allow for more course options that may not be possible with traditional in-person teaching, since leveraging a flexible virtual option doesn’t require you to first meet class-size requirements. Schools can now teach specialized subjects like robotics, coding, and digital marketing, thanks to more resources and qualified teachers. This not only allows students to explore their interests and passions but also prepares them for the ever-evolving job market.
Through targeted small-group instruction sessions, districts can offer expanded learning opportunities tailored to individual student needs. Whether it's remedial support or enrichment activities, virtual instructors can deliver personalized education, accommodating specific instructional needs to maximize individualized growth.
5. Alleviate Student Scheduling Conflicts
Students may experience timetable clashes when they aim to register for several classes that are provided at the same time, deal with job or family obligations, or engage in out-of-school activities that overlap with standard school timings. Virtual teachers can alleviate these conflicts by providing flexible scheduling options. Students can take online classes to add to their schedules, so they can do more subjects, work, or activities without limits.
By offering virtual classes, students have the opportunity to expand their learning beyond the constraints of traditional bell schedules. This flexibility allows them to pursue their interests and passions without sacrificing their academic progress. For example, a student who is passionate about music can take online music lessons during their free time, even if it coincides with their regular school hours.
Virtual teaching resources can also be a great asset for students who have part-time jobs or family obligations. These students often struggle to balance their responsibilities and schoolwork, leading to stress and burnout. However, with the option of virtual classes, they can create a schedule that works for them. They can attend their job or take care of their family during the day and then access their online classes in the evenings or weekends.
Integrate virtual teachers in your district with EdOptions Academy
Simply put, virtual teachers have become an essential part of modern education systems. They bridge staffing gaps and improve schools by offering more learning opportunities, meeting enrollment demands, and managing teacher absences smoothly.
EdOptions Academy combines our best-in-class curriculum with state-certified virtual teachers to give every student a front row seat to learning. Our program offers personalized learning with over 500 courses in core subjects, AP, electives, and career and technical education. Options include flexible, asynchronous anytime, anywhere virtual learning or synchronous instruction that keeps students in the building while delivering instruction aligned to your specific bell schedule.
Edmentum’s e-learning solutions can empower your students to excel in a flexible, supportive, and enriching academic environment. Contact us to see if EdOptions Academy is the right e-learning solution for your district.