How to make it through shortage of staff


  1. Don’t panic
  2. Hire some substitute teachers
  3. Work and teach your staff to work smart
  4. Lower your expectations
  5. Lend a hand
  6. Encouraging self-help among students
  7. Maintain teacher breaks
  8. Reward your teachers  according to their effort
  9. Keep the search going

Sometimes, managing staff can be quite challenging, and no school administrator has never faced a staffing shortage. This is because of some of these factors;

  • Unfavorable conditions at the workplace
  • The newbie effect; just in case the school has just started and everything is still little
  • Effects of firing a teacher/ teachers in the middle of the term

The list goes on and on, and there’s a time it can feel unbearable. To your teachers it can also be a hell of an issue because;

  • Teachers struggle to take upon a workload that isn’t theirs
  • Creates frustration due to the extra workload
  • Causes burnout due to the extra working hours
  • Can lead to loss of more staff if it persists

It is therefore important for every school administrator to find a way to lead the rest of the staff through a crisis like this before it creates more trouble. The article below discusses some of the strategies.

1. Don’t panic

Panicking because you want your teachers to sympathize with you won’t make the situation any better. Instead, it will make the teachers doubt you even more. Here are the results of maintaining a calm composure;

  • Everyone thinks you got the situation
  • They trust that you’ll solve it
  • It makes them think the situation isn’t bound to last
  • Inspires other teachers to follow your lead
  • Makes them more confident

Of course, this is not the gospel truth, and not everyone reacts the same way, but this is how most of them would react to a calm and composed demeanor.

2. Hire some substitute teachers (optional)

Substitute or part time teachers are those that already have jobs at other schools, but can offer to come and fill in for a while when they have some loose time at their job.

These teachers, if you can get them, can be highly beneficial because they fill the gap and almost fit in perfectly. Better yet, they reduce the workload of the rest of the teachers, so your permanent staff remains at ease.

3. Work and teach your staff to work smart

Working smart is one of the best ways that you can lead your staff through a shortage. This is where you use technology to simplify some tasks for your teachers. Smart strategies include;

  • Printing notes for teachers and students
  • Providing computers to teachers
  • Creating a virtual network for teachers to connect and help one another when need arises.

Working smart can cut the workload in half and enable your teachers have a positive attitude towards their extra work.

4. Lower your expectations

Part of why many bosses overwork their employees is because they have overly high expectations in the business/ enterprise. However, you have to learn to lower your expectations in order to limit disappointment.

To be honest, you can’t expect the exact same results during a staffing shortage, as those during the normal days.

5. Lend a hand

If you have ever instructed manual laborers, you probably know that doing the work with them and helping where need arises is one of the best ways you can get them to do the work better and faster. This is because;

  • It makes them feel motivated that you’re around
  • They feel like you know exactly what they’re going through
  • Gives them a little bit of sympathy

In this position, you can’t afford to be this bossy boss that secludes himself in the office while everyone else is doing the heavy lifting.

6. Encouraging self-help among students

You and your teachers have to learn to teach your students how to help themselves. This will simplify work for you and your teachers in the following ways;

  • Promotes research among students
  • Unites students and promotes discussion
  • Students depend more on consultations than normal classes
  • They learn to read  ahead of the teachers, making the teachers’ work simpler

7. Maintain teacher breaks

Teachers use a lot of their brains and a little of muscle. This is why they need to maintain their breaks.

Just because they understand you, doesn’t mean you have to make them work like they have a stake in the school. If you overwork them, you’ll wear them out, and resignation letters will probably fly in.

8. Reward your teachers  according to their effort

For any extra work, there has to be extra reward. Not to make it all seem rude and stuff, but the school is yours, and these are just laborers. You have to give them their due.

Also, it’s just fair to do that because the missing teacher would have been paid for their services. That money has to be given to whoever is doing extra work.

9. Keep the search going

The resignation of your overworked teachers is nothing but a ticking time bomb. Therefore, you should even be scared if they aren’t complaining at all. It means they’re seriously contemplating something.

Therefore, keep searching for teachers that can fill the place, so as to balance your workforce.


Every teacher has a specific purpose and that’s to keep everything going like it has to. Therefore, the absence of one or two teachers is a huge gap that has to be filled. No one will be as passionate about your school as you are, so the only person supposed to work a way out of the crisis is you.

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