Orlando students, parents express concern over teacher shortages across Central Florida
By Erin Murray Orlando August 9, 2018 @5:59 PM
ORLANDO, Fla. -- In the Chamberlain household, Tenille Chamberlain works hard to make sure all bases are covered when raising three teenage girls, but some things are just out of her control.
Orlando teens worry about teacher shortages
The Chamberlains say they want more consistency
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“What are you going to do if you don’t have a teacher?” asked 20-year-old Njani Chamberlain.
“Senior year -- that is going to be a problem,” said 17-year-old Nyala Chamberlain.
Nyala and her sister Nakari attend Evans High School in Orange County and attest that fill-in teachers and staff shortages are not something new.
“It is something I have been going through since freshman year,” Nyala said.
Her mother joins her in this worry.
“I feel like it takes a village to raise children, and I feel like I do my part as a parent, but then I really depend on teachers,” Tenille said.
School shortages and vacancies are across all Central Florida.
In Volusia County, there are 77 unfilled teaching positions, between 40 to 80 in Orange County, 120 in Osceola, and in Brevard, eight.
When compared to overall instructional positions, the vacancies are a small percentage. But even just one unfilled spot has a trickle down affect.
“Every child and it affects the teachers, and everyone in the school, because in some situations they might have to divide classes and make classes larger among the teachers that are there,” said Wendy Doromal, Orange County Classroom Teachers Association President.
All of the school districts assure us even with the vacancies, the classrooms will be manned by substitutes or other current qualified teachers.
But a lack of just one consistent teacher can do damage -- Nyala dealt with a long-term sub last year.
“They kept giving us packets of work. And by the time we had to do the chemistry OC, I felt like I was not prepared,” Nyala said.
With it just days away from the new school year, Tenille is past the point of understanding why these positions can’t be filled.
“We need them, we need them, a lot; we do,” Tenille said.
She just wants the school districts to get it done so her kids can worry less about teachers and focus more on their excitement for the first day of school.
“It’s not fair; I don’t think it is,” Nyala said.