LAUSD Experiences Teacher Shortages After Online Learning


Robert Gavidia, Layout Editor

Updated on Thursday, January 19, 2022 at 10:42 a.m. since December print issue was distributed

Post-Covid pandemic, school teachers’ mental health and overall well-being have received more mainstream attention. Largely due to the ongoing national teacher shortage and other issues such as teacher burnout, which were only amplified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The consequences of this have only become more apparent.  A teacher survey from United Teachers Los Angeles, the teacher labor union of LAUSD. showed that nearly 70% of teachers have considered “leaving their profession altogether” and “do not believe LAUSD values their working conditions or their students’ working conditions”.

 Despite this development, LAUSD has reportedly made strides in filling vacant staff positions beginning the summer of 2022 with 2,100 staff vacancies and filling about 700. The new hires include fully credentialed teachers.

Coordinator Jennifer Barnhill, who is involved with UTLA, was critical towards the current state of LAUSD, mentioning the approximately 20% pay cut that educators face compared to others that have their same education level in different professions and how “in LAUSD it’s even worse than that, because we are paid less than our neighboring distircts”

To help respond to these issues, UTLA has been in negotiations with district staff relations, negotiating for “reduced class sizes,” “more staff on campus,” and a “significant pay raise.”

Barnhill believes that these changes would help towards issues such as teacher burnout, “reducing the general workload that school sites experience” and keeping LAUSD at level with neighboring districts. She said these changes “would help make our jobs easier to do and help make students, you know, be better served”

In light of these issues that LAUSD teachers face, first year teacher Samantha Cline is still optimistic. “It’s a profession where you feel compelled to give all your time. And there’s always something to do something to grade, something to make, something to plan, which can be really overwhelming” “I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones so far and that hasn’t been the case for me. But I recognize that it is definitely the case for other people I know.”

Assistant principal Mariana Kayichian said  “teachers overall after the pandemic have a bigger job than usual” and are “kind of first line for student support, not just academically but emotionally.” Part of her role as Assistant Principal is knowing which teachers need to be hired.

She also works with a team of people to “provide different opportunities for teachers” having different activities such as workshops and bi-weekly lunches. Kayichian wants to make sure that “teachers, especially new teachers are priority for Venice High School.”   

“Teaching is hard. It’s always been, especially nowadays. Now there’s just a little bit more added onto that.”