Navigating the Teacher Shortage: The Impact on Student Programs and the Solution for Civic Engagement

Rachelle Dené Poth
3 min readOct 17, 2023

Guest post in collaboration with @x2VOL

Civic engagement is of the utmost importance for students. Service and community engagement during formative high school years improve social-emotional growth, student outcomes, leadership skills, and more. But how are these programs being managed when educators are leaving schools in record numbers?

The current teacher shortage in the United States has far-reaching implications for education.

According to The Washington Post, the teacher shortage is impacting schools across the country. In a study done by Kansas State University, 37 states were surveyed to assess the extent of the current shortage: The teacher shortage increased by 35% in the past year alone in these states. Districts across the country are seeing teachers and other faculty leaving education citing stress, low pay, and safety concerns, among other reasons.

While classrooms are suffering due to fewer teachers and larger class sizes, how do the teacher shortages impact other student programs?

Being “Voluntold”

Because there are many vacancies in school positions, there’s a lack of staff to run student programs. Many teachers and student administrators are reporting they are being “voluntold” to take on new responsibilities. These include different clubs and organizations, service programs and requirements, work-based learning programs, and more — programs that can’t run without staff involvement.

Teachers and educators are passionate about student success and want to see their students flourish; they take on these responsibilities for the betterment of their students.

However, educators aren’t always given the proper compensation or resources to manage these additional responsibilities. These student programs are vital in student development, but what happens when they aren’t given proper attention?

Student engagement suffers without proper leadership over these programs. Community service, service learning, and work-based learning programs are important elements of a student’s education. There are a number of benefits such as:

  • Betterment of skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, initiative, and more
  • Career discovery from experiencing new industries and positions
  • Social-emotional development and widened worldview leading to personal growth
  • Increased feelings of belonging from being engaged in one’s community

These benefits lead to well-rounded students. Students who participate in community service during their high school career learn valuable life skills that increase college acceptance, university success, job acquisition, and more.

The Solution

x2VOL Founder & CEO, Michele Pitman discussed this topic and solutions to support teachers on the ThriveInEdu Podcast with Rachelle & Mel. Check out the full podcast and discussion below.

Watch ThriveInEdu

In this podcast, Michele joins the ThriveInEdu team to share current trends in schools, why student programs are vital, and what districts can do to better support their educators.

x2VOL is a resource that steps in to make the management of these important student programs much easier, allowing educators to focus on student engagement and growth. x2VOL takes tracking and reporting for student programs online. Whether schools have a service hour requirement or a work-based learning program, x2VOL tracks hours and experiences for student programs online. Students are empowered with an activity log of their experiences and reflections and educators are relieved from the burden of managing these platforms.

Student service and WBL programs are an important piece in a young person’s education and managing these programs shouldn’t be a burden to educators.

Learn more in our one-minute demo below and reach out to our team to get started!

View x2VOL Demo About Rachelle

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915.

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Originally published at http://rdene915.com on October 17, 2023.

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Rachelle Dené Poth

I am a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Tech Teacher, Attorney, Author and Blogger, Learning Enthusiast and EdTech Consultant