One Analysis of our Teacher Shortage

This posting has been written by my friend and colleague, Dr. Lee Jenkins. Lee is a former school superintendent from California who is an expert one school improvement. I am honored to post this.

In his book, Who Will Teach the Children, Franklin Schargel eloquently discussed the current shortage of teachers. As fast as universities credential new teachers, current teachers leave for different occupations. Few educators encourage their children and grandchildren to become teachers. They do not wish the stress and dishonor associated with this career choice upon their loved ones. W. Edwards Deming shared 4 Levels of Management to explain one reason teachers are unhappy in their career field. Poor management of students and teachers may be one reason teachers flee the education field.

Level 1:  Teachers do the work themselves because there is not enough time to adequately explain methods to students.

Level 2: Students are expected to blindly follow teacher’s directions.

Level 3: Management by Objectives. Employees tell their boss what they intend to accomplish for the year’s activities. At the end of the year, the employee meets with the boss to prove they accomplished what they said they would do.

Level 4: Administrators, teachers and students work together toward a common goal.

Most classrooms operate at Level 2, slipping too often into Level 1 – due to limited time to teach the students how to complete the work, the teacher assumes all responsibility for teaching and data completion.

Most administrators once operated at Level 3. However, as a result of No Child Left Behind and overwhelming teacher evaluations mandated by Race to the Top initiatives, administrators typically operate at the second level. Teachers are just as unhappy as students.

The solution is Level 4 – Teamwork. The essence of How to Create a Perfect School consists of establishing teams of students and teachers, plus teams of teachers and administrators. It is called collective efficacy. It is the highest researched influence upon learning out of the 250 influences studied by John Hattie with his Visible Learning research. Collective Efficacy is NOT a pep rally; it is evidence of improvement and knowledge of how the improvement was accomplished, plus faith that together administrators, teachers and students will continue to improve. Success becomes important to all parties involved.

Level 4 Management of classrooms, schools and school systems can create such a buzz that teacher shortage will be in the rear-view mirror.

Lee Jenkins, [email protected],, is author of How to Create a Perfect School, Optimize Your School, Permission to Forget and From Systems Thinking to Systemic Action. He resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife Sandy.