How Can AI Help Solve Teacher Shortages?

Posted By: Rachel Post AASPA Blog,

When discussing the current state of education with administrators, one theme consistently predominates: the national teacher shortage crisis and its effects on students, teachers, and administrators. At the start of the 2023 school year, there were an estimated 55,000 vacant teaching positions nationwide, an increase of 51% from 2022. An additional 270,000 teachers were working without meeting state qualifications. Coupled with a high teacher turnover rate, peaking at 14% in the 2021-22 school year, districts and administrators across the country are desperate to secure teachers from an ever-diminishing supply.

School districts are reacting with various strategies, from adopting four-day school weeks to offering signing bonuses to reducing teacher licensure requirements. While these measures offer temporary relief, they invariably create deeper problems and they fail to address the root causes of teacher shortages or the long-term well-being of students.

The Rise of AI in Education – Can It Be Used for HR?

The post-COVID era has seen a surge in educational technology and AI, sparking conversations about their potential to revolutionize education. However, this conversation hasn’t yet extended to the HR department. But what if AI-powered technology could provide tangible solutions to the teacher shortage, aid in preparing new educators, and streamline HR operations in schools? 

Online Teaching: Filling Immediate Vacancies & Training New Teachers

Due to the shortage of certified in-person teachers, many districts are turning to companies that provide online instruction. COVID compelled teachers and schools to become well practiced in managing online classrooms. Schools are now far more capable than ever of implementing online teaching solutions, and an entire generation of teachers has gained substantial experience in online delivery. 

AllCourse, a new edtech company, is using these newfound societal capabilities to help solve teacher shortages. AllCourse is a marketplace linking certified teachers teaching online with school districts looking to hire quickly and painlessly. Akin to other labor marketplaces like Upwork or TaskRabbit, What makes AllCourse unique is the AI it uses to recruit large numbers of highly qualified teachers, which means that AllCourse can offer extremely cost-effective and flexible teacher hiring options. Districts can post jobs for free, and then AllCourse’s AI-powered system then begins to crawl the web, as well as first-degree teacher connections within the AllCourse community, to find teachers who meet the exact qualifications of the job posting. With AllCourse, it’s free and easy to build a large pool of online teachers who are licensed and qualified for all your open roles.  

Beyond filling immediate vacancies, online teachers have an unexpected perk – they can help train new teachers. When districts implement online teachers in in-person settings, a classroom facilitator, such as a paraprofessional or substitute, often manages the environment, monitoring behavior and encouraging engagement. One district in South Carolina decided to use this facilitator role as part of their teacher training program for candidates undergoing certification. These facilitators gain valuable classroom management experience and mentorship from highly-qualified teachers. Furthermore, all AllCourse teachers record their sessions; AllCourse is building a large library of recorded classes that can be used as training tools for new teachers. Online teachers, therefore, can both address the immediate need to fill vacancies and help train the next generation of educators.

AI-Powered Tools: Reshaping Resource Creation to Reduce Teachers' Workload

The potential of AI to change the ways teachers teach is frequently talked about, but what if AI tools could attract teachers by easing their workload? Teacher burnout, resulting from heavy workloads, is a leading cause of high teacher turnover rates, with 44% of K-12 teachers reporting often or always feeling burnout. AI has the potential to reduce teacher burnout by providing tools that allow educators to spend more time on teaching and less time procuring resources. BookBaker, created by AllCourse, is a first-of-its-kind AI content generator that allows teachers to quickly create custom learning materials differentiated for their students and aligned with their curricula. BookBaker allows educators to create any kind of materials – from worksheets all the way up to textbooks – in just a few minutes at 90-99% lower prices than traditional materials. BookBaker is poised to become an essential tool in reducing teacher burnout, as teachers increasingly turn to it to find free materials already created by other teachers or to create their own materials at ultra low cost simply by checking a few boxes. And implementing powerful new AI tools like BookBaker will allow districts to reallocate the billions of dollars spent on textbooks and other learning content to areas such as teacher salaries and student enrichment programs.

BookBaker also helps substitute teachers by enabling them to create standards-aligned, relevant worksheets for students in minutes, ensuring continuous learning even during teacher vacancies and situations where there are no sub plans.

AI in HR: Cultivating School Culture

A strong school culture is essential for attracting and retaining skilled educators. Research suggests that teachers who resonate with their school's mission are more likely to stay. However, creating mission-aligned documents can be time-consuming for already inundated HR departments. AI tools like BookBaker can expedite this process. By using AI content-generators, school districts can quickly create a wide variety of customized training materials, employee handbooks, and FAQs, all aligned with the school’s mission. This not only helps improve school culture but also frees up HR staff to focus on recruiting and retaining educators.

Technology and AI are often not part of the HR conversation, but these tools can help school districts whether they are filling immediate vacancies, training new teachers, or attracting teachers with tools that can reduce their workload. Solutions like AllCourse’s teacher recruitment marketplace and BookBaker’s AI-superpowered content creation are two examples of how we can harness technology to create sustainable solutions to the teacher shortage – ultimately supporting teachers and improving student outcomes.