Teacher in classroom engaging with students

Unpacking the Teacher Shortage Problem

Join us as we sit down with esteemed educator Dr. Dwayne Wood to grapple with the complexities of the growing teacher shortage crisis. Dr. Wood, a seasoned veteran in the world of education and instructional design, brings his vast experience to our conversation. We dissect the many contributing factors to this urgent problem, unpacking the realities of low teacher salaries, challenging work conditions, and the societal perceptions of teaching. It's a journey of discovery as we learn to understand the intricate dynamics of this issue and how we can make informed decisions to address it.

Our conversation extends into several innovative strategies that can be used to attract more individuals to the teaching profession. With Dr. Wood's analytical prowess, we examine data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and discuss the societal standing of teachers in our community. We reflect on the potential benefits of alternative work schedules, the impact of influential mentorship programs, and how teacher preparation programs can evolve to meet the demands of the crisis.

In this enlightening discussion, we also delve into the policies that could potentially act as game changers in managing teacher supply and demand. Dr. Wood shares his insights on tapping into the potential of retired educators to mitigate the shortage and how innovative teaching models can help manage this crisis. Furthermore, we uncover the evolution of the teaching profession and the potential role of technology in easing the administrative load of teaching. This deep-dive isn't just about the facts and figures, it's also about shifting perspectives and finding new solutions to the teacher shortage crisis.

Show Notes

  • 0:02:48 - Addressing the Current Teacher Shortage (114 Seconds)
  • 0:08:00 - Teacher Demand by Subject and Region (113 Seconds)
  • 0:13:16 - Teacher Aging (91 Seconds)
  • 0:17:03 - Perception of Teachers and Medical Professionals (63 Seconds)
  • 0:22:18 - "Grow Your Own" Teacher Program Potential (72 Seconds)
  • 0:25:55 - Impact of Technology on Teacher Burden (59 Seconds)
  • 0:30:07 - Tapping Into Retired Educators (100 Seconds)
  • 0:37:29 - Critical Thinking in Politics (65 Seconds)

0:00:01 - Announcer

You are listening to the National University Podcast.

0:00:10 - Kimberly King

Hello, I'm Kimberly King. Welcome to the National University Podcast, where we offer a holistic approach to student support, well-being and success- the whole human education. We put passion into practice by offering accessible, achievable higher education to lifelong learners. Today we're talking about the teacher shortage and how we can address this in a relevant way. It might not just be about paying them more. We have some really interesting information, and joining us is Dr. Dwayne Wood.

Dr Wood is a passionate educator and instructional designer with a rich background in military service and a profound commitment to empowering learners. Originally from the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, he's carved a path in the realms of education, leadership and instructional design. Dr. Wood served in the Army at the age of 17 and undertook numerous international missions in South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. His roles included combat engineer, human resources expert, special operations support, senior enlisted advisor and military science instructor. Following his military career, Dr. Wood worked as an instructor and instructional designer and obtained a master's degree and eventually a doctorate in education, specializing in leadership and management, from Capella University. He's guided by a profound instructional philosophy, believing in the untapped potential within every learner, and he advocates for tailored approaches catering to the unique needs, interests and abilities of each learner and we welcome him to the podcast. Dr. Wood, how are you?

0:01:53 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

I'm doing well, thank you. Thank you for having me on.

0:01:56 - Kimberly King

Yeah, thank you for joining us again, and why don't you fill our audience a little bit on your mission and your work before we get to today's show topic?

0:02:04 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, so really currently, right now, I'm doing a lot of instructional design, working on some instructional design for the Department of Defense and for National University. They've reached out and I help with the development of some instructional design programs and I'm an adjunct for National and I teach educational technology and leadership, which is a fantastic. I love teaching at one. It's always a small group. I can tailor it to the individual and to their context. We always have a lot of learning in that course, so that one's always a lot of fun to teach.

I say teach. It's more of a facilitation. You know I like to tell students think of me as like a peer mentor. You know, as we go through that course and it tends to work out really well.

0:02:47 - Kimberly King

Oh, that's great. Well, you seem like you're in exactly where you need to be, and today we are talking about how we can address the teacher shortage. So this is interesting, Dr. Wood, what factors contribute to the current teacher shortage?

0:03:01 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Well, so recently, right, you see, you can almost pull up any news story, any news feed and you see something you know about this teacher shortage. So, as I've looked at the data and looked at everything, I think we've had a teacher shortage much longer. Right, we've had it, and it's not equally distributed across the nation. But I think now we're starting to see where there's some more districts maybe that are seeing this, that haven't seen it before, and now it's becoming more of national attention and there's a number that's given in a lot of these news articles and it's something like 36,000 vacancies across the nation. You know, of unfilled teachers and you can do some simple math, right, if one of those teachers influences 50 students in a district, that's an exponential impact, right, across the nation. If you look at the study where they're getting these numbers from the authors, caution a little bit on this number, because one of the things we're missing is data. The authors in this study said some states didn't even report data that they could get from. Some states had some old data, you know, like 2014, 2015. So this number is kind of you know, pulling this together and saying this is what it's what, one of the things I think you know, when we talk about this, is we really need data really to see what's happening here? You know we go this way. But I wish we could say, right, it seems like right off the bat, the easiest answer is, well, let's just pay our teachers more. I think yes, but that's only, like, I think, a small factor in why we're maybe seeing this as we go. It reminds me of the commercial. There was a commercial a while back, I think it was a cell phone carrier, where it showed like a legislative body and it was all firemen and they're like everybody wants clean water. Ah, yeah, clean water, clean water, all right, bill passed, clean water. I wish it was that easy, right.

But this is such a complex issue, right, you know we could talk about, you know, low teacher salaries. I think there's some impact in there. But there are some states that pay teachers pretty well. I mean, I was on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it showed an average salary for a four year bachelor level teaching at $61,000 a year, you know, for coming right out of, you know, school, and now they're probably not going to start at that, right. But again, I look at that number, I think. So there are some there. You know the challenging work conditions- and I was going to read this verbatim. I pulled this right off the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the occupational handbook, You know.

It says “teachers may find it rewarding to watch students develop new skills and gain an appreciation for knowledge.” I think that's absolutely true. I think people that go into the career of education that's the reason, you know, that's what gets them into the career of teaching. But the next line says, however, “Teaching may be stressful. Some schools have large classes and lack important teaching tools such as current technology and up-to-date textbooks. Occasionally, teachers must cope with unmotivated or disrespectful students.” I appreciate the Bureau of Labor Statistics being honest and open, you know, with that, because I think that adds to when we talk about these working conditions for teachers.

It's changed, you know, our society's changed and I think these conditions that teachers are encountering in the classroom is different. And you know, maybe we're not preparing them for that or maybe, you know, maybe there's something, something more we need to look at, right, a little deeper about this problem. And again, data, right, and I feel like there's just a lack of data for us to make really good decisions as we go through this. You know we're trying to figure out what we need to do to fix this problem. And you know, there's not going to be a single national solution. Right, the federal government's not going to say this is how we're going to fix the teacher shortage. You know, it's a decentralized process.

Local school districts have to look at what they can do, what you know again, look at their data. Why are, why are we having a problem, and what we can start looking at how we can solve that problem. So it's a very nuanced problem, you know, and it's, it's one of these things that I hate to say the answer, but the answer is, well, it depends. You know we need to see the data, we need to see what the environmental context is of that school district that's having problems. And you know, if you look at the distribution of this, it's kind of an unfair distribution where schools that are struggling, the schools that are struggling most likely in this, their teachers, are the ones that don't have resources as much as other schools, you know, and this may be contributing to our achievement gap, right? So we got, you know, schools that are, you know, we we've got large classes, right.

Well, if you have a really large class, sometimes it's hard to connect and make, and you know that, those rewarding things with students, you know, to see them advance right, because you've got just a sort of huge, large class that you have to, you know, get through and get through the what you need to do as a teacher and it can create burnout real fast. You know, and I think we're seeing it.

0:08:00 - Kimberly King

Well, and to your point too, I mean really the data. But so this also goes right to my next question about how does teacher demand vary by subject and by the region? That's just really kind of a regional issue too, isn't it?

0:08:16 - Doctor Dwayne Wood


And you know what? Again, we're lacking real data. The Department of Education has a website and a database you can go to and it shows all of the -by state- vacancies that they're seeing. But that's about it. That's all the data really gives- state, and then subject- but one of the things, if you scroll through that that you'll see that it has a super height, that there's demand, is it STEM. So mathematics, you know the sciences, there's a lot of vacancies there. And then you will see also special education and I guarantee, if you go through every state, there's a bunch of special education vacancies. And you know being a parent of an autistic child, right, who's now an adult.

And you know, having grown through school, I can understand the challenges We've had, both good and bad, and I can tell you a good special education teacher makes an enormous impact. And that's just from personal experience, you know, with my child. We see, you know we just got lucky with a really good school, with a really good teacher and working with him to get him where he's at. So that's to me that that's a larger impact than, say, you know, an English teacher, at least that’s one thing. And there's additional skills and training and personalities and all that stuff, that kind of go together to make a really good special education teacher, and you know so I think that's really important. But that's definitely… You see, that there and I think I make it need to make a distinction here too, about you know, we talked about STEM, right, when you're a teacher, you might be thinking like you know, well, why don't we just get somebody that studies mathematics and put them in a classroom? Well, that doesn't work, because a teacher has to have two sets of skills. They have to have the content skill and knowledge, but that's only half. They also need to understand how to relay that information to the audience. That they have to so that they can grasp the understanding. And some of that is like understanding where mistakes are made, so that you can preempt that.

Or how do you scaffold, right, what is this? I'm looking at a student. I can see what they're doing on the board mathematically. I'm like you know what? Maybe I need them to work on xyz, because that's where they're having the trouble. I can identify that you have somebody that just studies mathematics. That's not intuitive to them. Right, they have a process. I, you know, I like to call it. You know they're, they're unconsciously competent. You, I mean, we've met those people before. Right, they do something so fantastic. And then you ask the question hey, can you show me how to do that? And they're lost. Right, that's that second set of skills that you have to have as a teacher. Again, it's those two sets that are needed to make that happen. So, when we kind of talk about this, this is the difference between quality versus quantity. Right, yeah, we have 36,000 vacancies, but do we just want to put anybody in them, or do we want to make sure they were putting a qualified individual and somebody that's ready. I think sometimes we lose that a little bit, like yes, they're, they're certified based upon all the paper checks, but are they emotionally and mentally ready to be in the classroom with students?

0:11:31 - Kimberly King

Especially in today's environment, right yeah.

0:11:34 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yes, absolutely. Let's just not throw them to the wolves right. Let's make sure they're ready, because if they're not ready and they go into the classroom, they're gonna experience high levels of stress, quicker burnout. They're gonna leave the profession.

0:11:46 - Kimberly King

Yeah, that is so. I, just a girlfriend of mine is a teacher. She's been teaching for probably 30 years and she's teaching middle school In California and she said, oh my gosh, just within the past five years, you know it's amazing, but she's kind of an old-school teacher. I mean she, she started you know what 30 years ago and she said it's changed exponentially. So you know, kudos to those, and I like what you say. Quality versus quantity. I think that's a really key point. Why? Why is teacher turnover a concern in addressing this supply and demand issues?

0:12:19 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, so teaching is kind of this unique profession in that it does take a long time to produce an effective teacher. You know, even if we stay, say we're gonna a bachelor level certification, well, there's three to four years, right, but then there's time after that. That they, you know, in the classroom, where they have some support, you know, in learning as they go. So I would say we have a three to five year training pipeline to produce an effective teacher. Well, let's say we have a teacher that joins the profession, goes through that pipeline and then spends 18 months, is burnout and leaves the profession. We, we have a net loss because we have, we've, we've having that losses.

So you know that quick turnover is not good for the district, it's not good for the profession and and it ultimately hurts the students. So, it's gonna create, you know it's gonna just increase the demand. I think that's why would they? You know, when you talk about the study with the numbers, you know, does that 36,000 turn into 50,000 next year and then the following year at 70,000? Right, and it just continues to get larger and larger because we're having such a short turnover time. Yeah, you know, and just think about the cost that's involved there.

0:13:36 - Kimberly King

Oh my gosh. Yeah, the cost. That's a whole other conversation. But I have a question for you about that age, distribution of the teaching workforce and impact. How does that impact supply and demand? Are people getting aged out or what? Yeah, exactly.

0:13:50 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

So if you have a lot of the well, I look at it also as a supply and demand side, but also on like an institutional knowledge expert type perspective, in that if we have a lot of our experienced teachers retiring, yes, it's going to create greater demand, right, we got to backfill all of those positions. But one of the things we're losing is now we're swapping very experienced teachers for new teachers and if we have, and if that's concentrated within regions or within districts or within schools, that creates a learning curve for the district. Right, we've just lost an immense amount of institutional knowledge that is really needed. You know, uh, teaching is it's all based on science, but it's really an art in how it's applied.

0:14:39 - Kimberly King

That's a really good point too. Um, how does the perception of the teaching profession affect supply and demand?

0:14:48 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

And I think this is one of the aspects that I think we really need to look at when we're recruiting teachers. And just think about the last couple years, you know, and all the school shootings that are on the news, right, how does that high school student that's maybe thinking about becoming a teacher, or the college student that's going through a teacher preparation, starting to think about their career now? School safety right, am I gonna that's become? I would never have thought, you know, in the United States, that we would be worried about, in a school. I'm worried about safety, you know. Do I need, you know, coming from an army background, do I need to teach my kids combat skills now so that they can be safe in just their daily skill or in school? You know that's… I remember I forget how long it goes I remember they were selling backpacks with bulletproof ceramic plates in them and I'm like… so yeah.

So you know, I think that that's a negative aspect on the people trying to become teachers. They start in a second guess that and then, just like the statement I read that came out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, I think that's a problem, right? I think it's less of, do I have the capability to understand all the content and teach it? I think I can do that fine, but maybe classroom management is more of a concern. Am I able to work with students of whatever age group that I'm looking at? And I can tell you I went through this myself when I was pursuing education. I started out pursuing K through 12. I did a lot of volunteer work in substitute teaching so I could get a feel for it from grades three all the way up through high school, and I can tell you I could not be an elementary school teacher just based upon going through that experience. It takes a special person, yes, to do that, and even middle school was a challenge for me, and then I found my niche in high school. But again, I think that's part of this right. How are we viewing this as a society? And if we think about this, how, what social standing does a teacher have in the community? You know, imagine what the difference would be if we viewed a teacher at the same social standing or community standing as the MD. You know.

0:17:27 - Kimberly King

In fact it's funny that you said that just now, because I was gonna say, when you go through medical school and then you spend some time, you know as on your rotations and whatnot, but you don't really specify exactly what direction you're going in until you've been in it. So I think, almost in the same way as you talk about the medical profession, teachers, you know, just like you said, maybe you're better with elementary school, maybe you're better with middle or high school, and you won't know it necessarily until you've spent time in there.

0:17:58 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, absolutely, you know.

0:18:02 - Kimberly King

So, yeah, that's all. This is great information. What strategies can it be employed to attract more individuals to the teaching profession?

0:18:12 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, and I think this is we tied right. We kind of talked about in the beginning, you know what's causing the shortage, right? Well, then, how do we attract them? Well, it's those things, right, again, we like to think, well, let's just pay them more. Well, you know, again, that's a very complicated issue because a lot of these school districts are public, right, so their funding's not you know a lot there, so they gotta work with what they got, you know. So there's some things I've seen out there that actually in my local area there's a couple of school districts that are going to a four day work week, so every weekend's a long weekend.

I'm not again, I wanna see the data and I'm not so sure that that's gonna be an end all be all solution. It might even have some negative impact. I hope they're looking at not only teacher perception on this. But how is it impacting learning, right? You know, again, that's the goal, right, we always gotta keep that in mind. Learning is what we're trying to achieve. We're trying to achieve those objectives we've been given, you know, with our students. So we gotta be careful that we balance in policy there to actually meet those objectives.

You know, so the other thing and we kind of hit on a little bit is I would like to see you know, much more robust mentorship programs. You know, maybe we can keep some of those teacher retirees not in a teaching capacity but in a mentorship capacity for our new teachers. You know, it's somebody outside of the school leadership that a teacher can go to and say this is what I'm experiencing. Maybe you got some things to help me there. Then we kind of retain that institutional knowledge, right, but we also protect that individual, right. They're not in a teaching capacity, right, but they're there as a mentor and support and ongoing support, right. We're not bringing the student or the teacher in and going here you go. Right, we're giving the hey, here's the person you got to you can talk to. Right, and they got continuous support for long term and maybe we can keep them in the profession longer.

0:20:23 - Kimberly King

I love that idea. I think that's a great idea. We have to take a quick break. This is awesome information, by the way, stay with us. We will be right back more in just a moment.

And now back to our interview with Dr. Dwayne Wood, and we're discussing how to fix this teacher shortage that's happening all across the nation. And, Dr. Wood, how can teacher preparation programs adapt to address this shortage?

0:20:50 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Well, you know, one is there's got to be decent recruiting, right, you know? And we talked about, like the how the professions viewed, right. This is kind of like a cultural shift, I think. You know it's a little bit larger. That's hard to do, right.

But one of the things in the preparation and this is maybe a concern for me is that some states are turning to third party instructor certification- or not instructor- teacher certification programs that kind of say look, hey, we can give you a certified teacher in 12 to 18 months. And I'm again, I want to see, I'd like to see data on this. The state of Texas actually banned one of these because of complaints, you know. So this is that same argument. We have quality versus quantity, right, that 12 to month, 12 to 18 month preparation is probably, you know, we can get the quantity in there. But are we really producing quality? And you know, what are we doing? Right, you know, is that better than not having somebody in there, you know? So there's a lot of things in there. Again, data, and it depends, depends on the circumstance, because if you have, maybe somebody that's, you know, an individual that's had some experience with teaching yourself, they just don't have their certification and they go through a 12 to 18 month advanced kind of. They may be fine, right, especially if you have supports for them afterwards, you know, mentorship and stuff. They may be fine. That may work. But I'm a little skeptical on those short fast to try to put somebody in there as we go through, as we process this.

Another option that I've seen and I'm looking at it, I was looking at it more and more and I think has some potential is they call it grow your own and the idea here is that if you have a community that maybe is having a problem getting teachers in there, well, is there supports that we could get to get local community members through a normal teaching certification to become a teacher in that district?

I think there's a lot of pros there, you know. But again, we're still looking at a longer training pipeline, right, and we're going to have to have supports and there's a whole bunch of other stuff there. But I think there's some potential there to help with that because a lot of again, we told us this is a very uneven distribution of the shortages across districts and states and stuff. So if we could target those communities and actually and there's a couple of pilots that I've seen that have done this right and they've been fully funded or they fully fund a community member to go through a teacher preparation training and they teach in that district. So I think there's a potential there. Again, we got to follow the data and see, you know, see what it shows us.

0:23:25 - Kimberly King

Right, and it's true. I think follow the data should be the headline here. Right, I like it. What role can financial incentives play and I know you talked a little bit about that too, and alleviating this teacher shortage paid them more, but what else?

0:23:38 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, again, I think. Again, I'm not so on board with financial being the full on solution.

Yes, I think there needs to be some, especially across some of the districts. There needs to be some greater financial compensation there for the work that these teachers are doing, right, and some of them are going well above and beyond. So there needs to be there. But you know, we talked about those other areas, right STEM and the special education. So maybe those are some bonuses there, right, maybe there's some financial incentives we can put in there. Again, I'd like to tie those to like some metrics, some data, right, but when we're looking at that, I think there's some aspects there. But I think there's also some like non-financial incentives, you know we can talk about, like professional development opportunities. You kind of talked about it, right, you know, maybe we can make somebody much more knowledgeable and much more, they can do much more things within the school. It would be fantastic, right, if you could take like the math teacher and get them trained in special education, right, you know. So I again.

I think there's some things in there and again, this would be, I think, voluntary. We can't, you know, want to force somebody if they don't want to do that. But there may be some cross-training and some opportunities there, some non-financial incentives. I think there's some opportunity there.

0:25:02 - Kimberly King

Yeah, I'd like to, I'd like to re-wear. Your ideas are leading. How can schools retain teachers once they're in this profession?

0:25:11 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

And I think you know, easy answer on this one for me and we kind of already talked about it is provide the supports for the teacher to be successful over a longer period right, not just that first year, not just that second year, but continual supports for this, for this teacher, as they gain the confidence, self-efficacy, right in their ability to teach in that context, whatever context they're in. I think that's really important in retaining our teachers and, you know, developing the next group of teachers that are going to teach, you know again, we're going to, we're going to replace ourselves right all the time. So I think that's the way to go there.

0:25:55 - Kimberly King

And you know what and we also kind of talked a little bit about this too that impact that technology can have on addressing the teacher shortage mainly the AI or what you know.

0:26:04 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, well, you know, when we talk a little bit, you know we tend to think about well, how does that impact learning and that stuff. But I think there's a lot of opportunity for technology to assist the teacher with the administrative burden that comes along with just being a teacher. Right, there's a lot of things that the district requires or school requires and if you can remove some of that or alleviate some of that, that's going to reduce some of the stress, that's going to reduce some of the hours that are needed to accomplish that. Yes, it's not directly related to teaching, but it's still tasks that a teacher has to accomplish and I think that's the technology to reduce that. I think we can help with the quality of life of a teacher. They can focus more on the actual teaching versus the administrative burden that comes along with being a teacher.

0:26:54 - Kimberly King

A good point. What about how can partnerships between schools and universities help with the teacher shortage?

0:27:02 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

So I think in a couple of ways here One, we kind of talk a little bit so we can be a little bit quicker on this, but you know that grow your own program, you know have a university that's in the local area, that's theirs right.

To help that community develop the teachers they need for that community. Again, I really like that idea and I know there's some funding sources that could be used. You know that both that district and the university could leverage to produce these teachers, you know. And then the other one is we have a lot of expertise within universities. What if they could help support those teachers, maybe in that mentorship role or maybe in that professional development role, right, so they could come in and do so again, I think there's a lot of opportunity there and I think there's a lot of like almost I hate to say no cost or low cost, but I think there's some opportunity there without expending a whole bunch of money and getting you know, a pretty good result there. I think it's just getting the right people in the room right and talking through and seeing what's you know the art of the possible.

0:28:09 - Kimberly King

Yeah, yeah, I love that and it's true, just having these conversations and it's really key. What about policy play? What role does policy play have in addressing teacher demand and supply?

0:28:22 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

I like this question because a lot of times, we put policy in place based upon an incident or based upon just normals and we don't really collect a lot of data on what's the second, third order effects of these policies on learning, on teacher quality, life, right, All these things. What impact does this policy actually have? Is it accomplished what we wanted it to? Right, but what else is it impacting? You know we could think about, you know, policies on metrics. Are we measuring the right thing and what behavior is measuring those things producing? And is that the behavior we want or is it something we don't want?

So we need to take, do these things and look at them in a very iterative way. Right, we're gonna put these in place. What data are we collecting? What's that data telling us? What changes do we need to make? Right, and just do these cycles so that we can get and again, that's another way to keep up with change, because we'll reevaluate the environmental context we can make the change and we can adapt it. It's a little more work, right, it takes an administrator time to make these things happen, but if you plan it out ahead of time, what data am I collecting? What's the data gonna tell me you can put this in place and it becomes more I hate to say routine, but as you go through, you know what data you're looking at. Again, I hate to keep saying this, but data-driven decision making right is what we gotta get to what's the data telling us and do we know that the policy is effective?

I like to ask that question all the time when I see policies. How do you know this policy is effective and you get blank stares because they don't know they're not measuring it.

0:30:07 - Kimberly King

yeah, wow, we talked a little bit about those retired educators and how they can be leveraged to address the shortage. So, yeah, maybe we can just talk about that a little bit.

0:30:17 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, again, I think the mentorship role is fantastic, right, yeah, and I know, again, just knowing you become a teacher because you want to make an impact Really. I mean you can almost ask anybody that's in the teaching field and that's what they're gonna tell you. Right, it's not because of the money, you know, it's not because of the work hours, it's because they want to make an impact. They want to make an impact even after they retire. I guarantee there's a whole bunch of teachers out there that would volunteer right, you know.

0:30:46 - Kimberly King

So when we start thinking about this right and the financial and the costs involved here.

0:30:50 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

This could probably be done. Now, volunteers sometimes we'd have to have. It's not sustainable, right, sometimes, right that you need, so you know you may need a volunteer coordinator, right, that's maybe a retired teacher that could pick out. I mean. So there's some things that have to be worked through there, but I think it still could be accomplished with a fairly low budget. You know, as we when we look at how we could do that, the other way I would say is you know these retired teachers, universities in those areas could pick those teachers up right and maybe in adjunct roles, and use them in those partnerships. Because you have this again, you have this individual that's got decades of experience.

You know, and is just a vital resource that we just don't want to let go. If we don't, if we can, if we can use them in another capacity.

0:31:37 - Kimberly King

And that is true. It is a vital resource. We were talking about that being used in law enforcement and military as well. So, yeah, I think the teaching mode can really take that on. What innovative teaching models can help cope with this teacher shortage?

0:31:52 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Well, you know, we've seen right like, I think, all other professions and stuff. You know, covid had an impact right, the pandemic had an impact.

But I think we learned that maybe there's room for some virtual asynchronous aspects of learning in a traditional K through 12 environment. Now I'm a little skeptical in the lower grades because you know, when we talk about asynchronous learning and stuff, it takes a little bit of self direction. You know there's some, there's some other skills that are needed there. That that's what you're developing in elementary school kids. But in high school, I think, you know, in the middle school, in high school, I think there's some, some work there where that could be used, one to help improve teacher quality of life but also maybe to leverage some technology to improve student learning. So I think that's you know we talked about blended there and then we kind of hit on the idea and you actually brought it up and I wrote it down in the note is to take on almost like a medical residency. I call it a teacher residency, you know a lot of teacher preparation programs do this.

Right, you have to have so many hours of teaching under observation from a qualified, certified individual, right that you get evaluated, and that's and that's all great and good. But maybe there needs to be some more robust aspect of that and again, that just takes a lot of resources, so it might not be feasible, but I think there's. There's some I some thoughts in there. You know, when I think in my military career, as a military instructor, we should do this all the time. You know one I would have to prepare and actually teach my peers and get evaluated by them. Then I got to teach in the classroom with my the expert teacher in the back, got evaluated by them, right, and we did this all the time right, and so I think that's important, that's something that needs to happen. Again, one you know I love that idea.

0:33:42 - Kimberly King

I didn't mean to jump in there, but it really does. It kind of leads me to my last question, and that is how that community involvement can help support and mitigate this teacher, and I mean that's a huge advantage. But the community outside, but also inside, within your peer group. I think that's so important.

0:33:58 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, you know, there's the idea of what they call communities and practice, and you know it's, it's something internal that you could put together. Well, I hate to say no cost again, but there's a cost of time where you know, you bring you bring your all the peer teachers together and you have those conversations.

And I think we're not siloed. And I've been in organizations and teaching organizations where it tends to be pretty siloed, right, nothing goes outside the math department, you know, and nothing goes out and there's a lot of opportunity lost there. Because you know I like to tell this, you know, when I was in the army and you got your yearly training plan, if you try to accomplish everything that you had to within a year, there wasn't enough time in a year to do it, so you had to do two for ones. So if you think about, in a K through 12 environment, how could we achieve that? Well, what if we could practice English skills in a science class? And some schools are doing this really well. I've seen some stuff. They've kind of bridged these ideas and I like this because it's a very multidisciplinary approach to things, because we're not just going to use our world's getting so complex. We really need to focus on critical thinking skills.

And if you just think about our political system of today, every citizen needs to be a critical thinker. We're on information overload all the time. How do we know that we're looking at information? How do we evaluate that information and ensure that there's some legitimacy to it or not? I do this every day. I got this one news feed and I look at through and I look at the articles and I'm like OK, here's the questions I have for this article, because something doesn't look right or feel right about it. Right as you look through it and if you do a little bit of research, you can poke all kinds of holes in it. So that's the skills we need.

0:35:57 - Kimberly King

That is critical thinking.

0:35:59 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

That's exactly it.

0:36:00 - Kimberly King

Ask me those questions, yeah, and knowing both sides too, and I think I may be good. Yeah, go ahead.

0:36:06 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Yeah, exactly, being able to. We used to say this all the time. I like using debate a lot as a teaching methodology, because you really truly never understand a subject unless you can argue the other side, so that allows you to get a little bit deeper in there. So those type of things, those are the skills we need to really focus on, start making the shift from knowledge-based to information, literacy, evaluating and asking questions, and it's critical to a lot of. I was asked one time about leadership and they're like if you had to put what you learned about 20 plus years in leadership, what would you say? And I was like you know what? The number one thing about leadership is asking the right questions. If you ask the right questions, your people will take care of it, and if you've trained them and got them where they need to be at, they really don't need you, except for some guidance and intent. And it's asking the right questions. So, yeah, that's a skill. We're very used to answering questions. We're not so good sometimes in asking questions. And then there's more to that. Well, if I ask the question, where do I need to go to find information? What data do I need to look for? What is that data going to tell me? How am I going to evaluate that data? There's all these other questions or all these other skill sets that follow that we get into the and again I just think just our political process, let's not even talk about our work skills.

Problem solving Our system of government requires the population to be critical thinkers and even so much more so if we see this all the time. Come up with elimination, electoral college, if that goes away, that even makes. I mean that's why the framers put that in place. It's because they didn't believe that all the citizens had all the information they needed to make a decision. Now we're overloaded with information and we have to sift through what we think is true or not. So that skill is absolutely critical. Just to so much more now than before. And just one more real quick. I had a when I was going through my dissertation. My mentor was telling me he's you know, when I did my dissertation I had to go to a library with a card catalog. You know me, I'm doing internet searches, database searches. Right, I'm doing it all from home, I'm not going anywhere. But there's so much more. I have to develop ways and skills to get through a lot of information and evaluate that information. You know more so than in the past.

0:39:13 - Kimberly King

You know what? I say this to my kids who are in their early 20s and I just say I've grown up in both of your worlds. But you know your world with all the cell phone where you have instant information, or you know back, like you said then, the library and the card catalogs. When I was in debate I didn't have Google to go check when they flipped. You know arguing on either side, so you know it's like we had to walk and crawl and you know go through the snow to get to school and all that back in the day. But it is a different- It is a different world. But I love what your ideas are and I hope that you can implement them, because this has been a great conversation and it all makes sense. So thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge and if you want more information, you can visit our National University's website at nu.edu. And again, thank you so much for your time.

0:40:02 - Doctor Dwayne Wood

Oh, thank you.

0:40:06 - Kimberly King

You've been listening to the National University podcast. For updates on future or past guests, visit us at nu.edu. You can also follow us on social media. Thanks for listening.

Show Quotables

"Teaching is kind of this unique profession, in that it does take a long time to produce an effective teacher. - Dwayne Wood https://shorturl.at/juyU5" Click to Tweet
"I would like to see... much more robust mentorship programs. You know, maybe we can keep some of those teacher retirees not in a teaching capacity but in a mentorship capacity for our new teachers. - Dwayne Wood https://shorturl.at/juyU5" Click to Tweet