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Shortage of skilled workers: federal states are desperately looking for teachers


The shortage of teachers leads to curious developments: even Markus Söder, who otherwise speaks rather disparagingly about the rest of the education republic, wants to attract teachers to Bavaria nationwide.

two questions to start with.

If you are a teacher: How many cover hours have you had to give since the beginning of the year?

And if you have children: How often are lessons missed?

The gaps in the teachers' rooms have been a huge topic in the past few days and weeks - on the one hand because service and timetables have collapsed in individual schools, on the other hand because there have also been heated discussions at the educational policy level.

The Standing Academic Commission of the Conference of Ministers of Education, which is sometimes flippantly referred to as the StäWiKo, presented six recommendations against the shortage of teachers - and not all teachers really liked them.

So what to do about the shortage?

("That's going on").

The reason for the problem: Decades of poor planning by the ministers of education with regard to the need for teachers has led to a systematic underfunding of the staffing ratio.

Example Lower Saxony: As of September 8, 2022, 96.3 percent of the permanent positions in the schools were occupied.

3.7 percent too little up to the 100 percent limit, that sounds manageable - but anyone who deals with the topic a little more closely knows that even a rate of 105 percent is no guarantee against class cancellations.

Because, of course, there are always short and long-term absences due to illness.

And as stress increases, so does the risk of health consequences.

One could almost assume that we are currently in a health downward spiral.

The guest commentary by Bob Blume, a high school teacher from Baden-Württemberg (»Debate of the week«) fits in with this.

We very much hope that you will be able to read this "little break" in a quiet minute and not in the sickbed.

Either way, we are always happy to receive praise, criticism and topic suggestions at

Have a good start into the second half of the year!

For the SPIEGEL education team

Armin Himmelrath

That's going on

  • petty state

  • Nervous, hectic, above all concerned about yourself: This is how you could interpret the actions of the federal states when it comes to the issue of teacher shortages.

    Every state is next to itself, despite appeals to the unifying power of the Conference of Ministers of Education, as formulated by the former SPD Secretary of State for Education in Berlin, Mark Rackles: »We need nationwide recruitment instead of regional poaching.«

    An important call, which, however, went unheeded - at least that's the impression you have when you hear the hasty announcements from the individual countries with which they want to close the gaps in the teachers' rooms.

    Markus Söder, who is otherwise not a known friend of educational systems other than the Bavarian, suddenly relies on nationwide poaching.

    Experts consider this a "dam burst", the Bavarian Parents' Association is ashamed.

    Brandenburg, on the other hand, hopes to become more attractive by lowering the standards for civil servants, Saxony-Anhalt is increasing working hours, and Saxony wants to provide Ukrainian teachers with permanent employment contracts.

    That must be this legendary federalist competition in education policy.

  • Corona balance sheets

  • Several research groups and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) have taken stock of the corona situation in the past few days - from very different perspectives.

    In retrospect, Lauterbach is critical of the school closures and relies on scientific findings.

    The data experts at the Federal Statistical Office have dealt with the number of people who remain seated.

    It rose again significantly in the 2021/22 school year - after a significant decline before.

    You can read here how this is related to the pandemic.

    And then there is an international study on the reduced learning progress in the Corona phases.

    Children from poorer countries and families are particularly affected.

    How the pandemic has affected the psyche of the students can be found further down in this newsletter - in the "Number of the week".

  • And otherwise?

  • I would like to recommend a special read to you.

    My colleague Silke Fokken visited the elementary school "An der Maarbrücke" in Bochum to experience what everyday school life is like in Germany.

    Spoiler: Headmaster Dirk Sälzer has to choose the least of several evils.

    Here he explains how he does it.

    And then, in this article, you'll find out everything you need to know about the political and educational discussions surrounding school class size.

    number of the week

    75 percent – ​​the number of depression symptoms in children and adolescents has increased by this value as a result of the Corona school closures.

    The number comes from a data analysis by the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB).

    The experts analyzed 22 studies across Europe with data from before and after the pandemic.

    The strong increase of 75 percent relates to several European countries, not just Germany.

    You can find the details here.

    debate of the week

    Back to the everyday life of the teachers in the face of the teacher shortage and the overload.

    The fact that the StäWiKo recommends “mindfulness training”, “e-mental health offers” and “skills training for class and conversational skills” to all teachers has upset high school teacher Bob Blume so much that he published a guest commentary with us.

    Blume writes, among other things:

    »Teachers who have long been at the limit, first burdening them with additional work and then offering them resilience training, that's cheeky.

    Because these training sessions convey subliminally that the individual can somehow manage to counter systemic failure with the lotus position.

    This idea speaks of pure helplessness and even negligence.

    The message is that the politically responsible misery must be remedied individually at the front.

    Collateral damage is inevitable.

    The mood among the teachers was often already at zero.

    With expectations on the one hand and additional work without adequate resources on the other hand, one thought is now becoming more and more attractive: leaving the system.

    Or defend yourself - with more part-time, work-to-rule, less commitment.

    For self-protection.«

    If you want to read the whole comment: please go here.

    And our leading article in the current issue of SPIEGEL also deals with the shortage of teachers.

    Title: »What an indictment!« 

    News from SPIEGEL Ed

    Free dates for media education school workshops

    How do journalists work?

    And what is the responsibility of the media?

    At our SPIEGEL Ed educational initiative, teachers will find not only teaching materials, but also media-educational school workshops from grade 9, which were created together with young media fellows from the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe.

    Have we piqued your interest?

    Here you will find our workshop offers

    We say goodbye until next time.

    Until then, as always, do you have a topic on your mind that we should take a closer look at?

    Then please write to us at – the »Kleine Pause« team thanks you for your interest!

    Source: spiegel

    All life articles on 2023-02-07

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