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Redwood Bark

What it means to be a Giant
What it means to be a Giant
Gil LadetzkyJune 22, 2024

In fifth grade, I attended my first-ever Redwood basketball game. It was a rainy Thursday night in a gym packed with energetic students. As I...

A high school student ridden with acne scrolls through social media posts of influencers with seemingly flawless skin from filters.
The bulging red bumps of your teen years shouldnt be normalized: Acne vulgaris, a detrimentally neglected disease
Emily HitchcockJune 20, 2024

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease —those red, white or scarred marks, the ones that stand out or grow beneath the skin as a painful...

Seniors launch their caps in their air as Dr. Barnaby Payne announces they have officially graduated.
Redwood class of 2024 graduates amid tears, cheers and airhorns: A celebration to remember
Cora ChampommierJune 15, 2024

  On Thursday, June 13, the Redwood class 2024 solidified their impact on the school over the past four years and became a step closer...

Recent teacher shortages spark the question: Why is it so hard to find teachers in Marin County?

In the US, there is a projected shortage of over 100,000 teachers by 2024,” stated Simbli, a company that helps to improve school districts across America. 

In the past year, we have seen teacher shortages happening in our local community and school district, and complex but vital questions emerge about whether teachers are unavailable to teach students, or aren’t willing to. The recent shift in attitude around teachers and substitutes being neither able nor willing to educate younger generations raises concerns about the future of learning environments. So where is this crisis stemming from? Could it be from the lack of support or representation teachers feel they have in their workplace? Or could it be the feeling of burnout? Whatever it may be, this ends up affecting how we learn and the quality of teachers we have. 

Toni Brown has been working at Hall Middle School as the principal since 2019, though she began her career working in schools as an eighth-grade math and science teacher. Brown was able to explain from her perspective a better understanding of what could cause teachers to feel discouraged in education. The school was recently placed in a situation that left them without an 8th-grade English teacher for over a month, and as a result, Brown was left floundering and in desperate search of another teacher.

Illustration by Indah Herzenberg

While the reasons the staff member left are unclear, some elements point to a potential motive. Brown mentioned how strong of an effect the pandemic had on teachers and how this terrifying moment in time had a lasting impact on our teachers in various ways.

“There was a lot of pressure and a lot of stress during the pandemic that made it easy for people to leave the field. The standards for how teachers become teachers is still pretty high right now, though they did relax some of the credentialing during the pandemic,” Brown said. 

Credentialing was not as strict when it came to letting teachers into education roles during and after the pandemic. The pandemic was a time of fear around health concerns that placed our educators in a sticky situation, and the high cost of living in Marin didn’t help the struggles and fear that the pandemic brought.

“I think that the pay was an issue, and it always stands to be an issue especially because it’s just not enough when you factor in the cost of living here,” Brown said. 

Teachers get paid roughly $44,000 to $91,000 a year in California, though this doesn’t seem to allow them to live sustainably and successfully in a community with such a high cost of living. The pay aspect factors into why some teachers may have left the field of education and/or Marin altogether, as the county’s cost of living stands at a fairly high rate of $146,087, and with that schools are then forced to constantly be in search of new teachers. 

After the pandemic, it seems as if many teachers did not get enough support or recognition for managing all the stress that came with the pandemic in schools, potentially leaving many burnt out and unsatisfied. However, the dissatisfaction they may be experiencing could come with a possible negative attitude, which they could then bring to the workplace. 

To gain a better perspective on how a Redwood student may have experienced being taught by a teacher who showed a lack of willingness to teach students, sophomore Milo Silverio reveals his experiences in the classroom. Silverio mentioned he experiences teachers having negative attitudes toward either him or the class at least once a week. 

“Teachers in the past and the present have been very dismissive, considering that they’ve said stuff such as, ‘You guys make me not want to do my job,’ or even ‘I don’t want to be here today because your class really makes me stressed out’,” Silverio said. 

He continued by stating that this left him sympathetic for the teacher to an extent, but that he still wanted an environment where he felt he could successfully learn. When teachers project their feelings from their day or home life on a student, this can shift the environment of learning alongside the relationship with that teacher. Brown expressed that having a teacher who creates a safe and content environment will positively affect students’ learning. 

“When students form special relationships with teachers they feel heard, like they’re valued, and like somebody’s looking out for them every day. And if you have those connections on campus with adults, I think it’s super powerful,” Brown explained.

There are many factors contributing to the difficulties of hiring teachers in this day in age. All these factors have the potential to positively or negatively affect students and learning. Though it seems as if the pandemic was years and years ago, it is clear we are still picking up the pieces it broke as we begin to restructure our education within our community. 

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About the Contributor
Indah Herzenberg is a Redwood High School sophomore who is a Cub reporter, and who is also a part of the Varsity Girls' Tennis team. She loves traveling and spending time in different countries all over the world, and she lived in Japan for 3 years.