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The Student Newspaper of MAST Academy, since 1991.
The Student News Site of MAST Academy

The Beacon

The Beacon

Staff Shortages Impacts MAST Academy Classes

Mast Academy has welcomed students into the 2022-2023 school year, and it now faces a major issue, missing teachers. As students entered school, they began to notice an abnormal amount of their previous teachers gone, core classes with no one to teach them, and clubs fearing disbandment. 

 Although teachers leaving and new ones coming in are typically considered normal, the number of teachers that left after the 2021-2022 school year is something many schools have never seen. Seeming to come out of nowhere, it has left students and parents alike wondering what happened. 

They are not alone in their questioning; a lack of staff has become an issue for schools across the nation. Researchers at Kanas State University have estimated that there are currently more than 36,500 staff vacancies at schools across the nation. States such as Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia face the biggest crisis with as many as 3,000 teacher vacancies each. 

The biggest driving factor according to the National Education Association seems to be an after-effect of the pandemic. The NEA reported 91 percent of teachers felt instances of burnout coming from the hybrid learning models and adapting to covid guidelines in the classroom which have led them to either quit or at least consider quitting.

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Some teachers at MAST this year such as Kelly Webner, the new AP United States History teacher, seem to have left their previous employments for the same reasons. Webner recalls having to teach virtually in the 2021-2022 school year at South Miami Senior High School. 

 “Teaching through the virtual platform made me realize how much I missed being in the classroom and building relationships with my students,” Webner said.

MAST 12th grade english teacher, Samantha Bañal, left our school two years ago for similar reasons. She recalls the pandemic and teaching online bringing her feelings of burnout. So, she took the opportunity to explore other areas of employment, such as teaching at universities. Ultimately, despite having the opportunity leave, Dr. Bañal decided to come back to MAST.


“Overall, I came back to MAST because I was missing being in the classroom, actually teaching lessons, and having the kind of discussions that only really occur in the classroom and no other spaces,” Bañal said.

Although plenty of new teachers have been hired at MAST to mediate the shortage, there are still some gaps left to be filled. For example, the A-Level Marine class was missing a teacher up until early September. This was particularly problematic as some students take this course to meet graduation requirements, all of which require a passing score on the exam. Students now face the threat of not being able to graduate if the spot is not filled. 

MAST Academy administration did work on some solutions to get this issue solved as quickly as possible. For example, the previous Marine teacher Gina Sese sent the students video lectures and assignments to keep them from falling behind for the first few weeks of school. 

However, some students find this to be an unsatisfactory solution, they feel an in-class teacher is necessary to have a productive learning environment, especially with an exam looming over them. 

 “There is no substitution for an in-class teacher, that is essential to a productive environment where students actually retain what they learn.” Sophie Hurwitz, MAST 12th grade student said. 

Schools across the nation are facing similar issues and resorting to more unorthodox methods to fill in employment gaps. Arizona, for example, has passed a law that will allow college students to teach, in order to broaden the range of potential teachers. Additionally, here in Florida veterans are now allowed to teach if they fulfill certain requirements. Two school districts in Texas have switched to four-day weeks due to lack of staff.

 These kinds of solutions while considered effective by some districts, are found to be unsatisfactory to teachers and parents alike. They believe being a teacher is much more than just having knowledge of the subject you are teaching. 

 “A teacher is someone who has the biggest impact on a kid’s life, and this job requires adequate preparation of not only the materials, but of behavior management and ability to create diverse lessons to meet all students’ needs and learning styles.” MAST’s new Italian teacher, Valentina Procopio said.


This shortage continues to bring other issues to the surface, such as pay. According to the NEA, ninety-six percent of teachers have reported that an increase in pay would helpfully counter feelings of burnout and would entice teachers to stay. However, this is a more temporary solution, some teachers seem to agree a larger reform is needed for this issue to fully die down. 

“Ultimately even with higher pay, teachers have such a large amount of work beyond just the day of teaching, that does lead to a lot of burnouts.” Webner said “So, while higher pay is a good thing for teachers, I think there needs to be a more revolutionary change to solve this issue.” 


As of now there is no clear solution to the teacher shortage. While suggestions have been made and districts are coming up with solutions to mitigate it, this could have detrimental effects on students. Without the proper teachers, students can become subject to faulty education which can leave them at a disadvantage for future educational and career related pursuits. 

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Staff Shortages Impacts MAST Academy Classes