Staff Shortages for Teachers and Therapists

The Answer Is Right In Front Of Us. But Our Lack of Innovation is Getting in the Way.

I could begin by giving you details (personal ones) about why I decided to found and open a school (

I could also give you details about how in my previous worklife, we were able to build and foster a successful work culture in an industry that also sees staff shortage, work fatigue, and burnout. We did this well…until we sold the company (another story for another time).

But those details are not why you are reading this post.

You want the answer to staff shortages that have sorely impacted education, intervention services, and more?

Studies have shown that the life time of a new teacher is SHORT. The time on job for the special education teacher is even SHORTER (Fantilli & McDougall, 2009).

So what have I learned in recruiting in industry that can be applied?

  1. The leader is the evangelist of the organization. The leader’s digital footprint matters. We are in different times where the voice of the leader is critical. The leader is not the school superintendent, but the principal-research lab leader – teacher – principal investigator. What we think is important. People want to feel as if they know us. They want to trust us before they meet us. So figure out…how can I get people to know me and my perspective without knowing all the parts of me?
  2. Your profile..the social media ones of you and your staff (potential). How are you profiled on the media sites to attract the people at the different levels you seek to reach? Who are you on LinkedIn? Facebook? Instagram? Are you consistently YOU and differentiate the message based upon the audience? Some of us willl need to identify which posts are appropriate for public and friends. Think about it…
  3. Your Message. In considering differentiation…its as important as dissemination. In fact, the two go hand in hand. How my message differentiates impacts how I disseminate. To whom? where? how?
  4. Marketing Differentiation. What is your marketing differentiation? Is it innovative? And by whose standards is this innovative? Have you tested the market? Is your pulse on the market? Consider what makes your research study, your program enough for people. Free can only be attractive for so long. Post #COVID-19 we need to learn to create an added value in the relationship.

We have not yet taken the time to understand our markets well enough. How do we know this? Our messaging and who we ask to come alongside to give the answers of a populaiton.

Think about it this way.

In business, you are not the market even if you think so. While you can give critical information based upon your lived experience, the market is the market. You ask the market questions…not for the survey, but to understand what you need to ask so that the survey gets the answers it really needs. Let’s put it this way, if I think that my lived experience as an African-American woman is an answer to the shortage anywhere or the direction a project should go for ‘black-BIOPIC-historically marginalized’ people, then I am discounting the needs of the populaton…AND I’ve made me the answer.

It’s marketing in the wrong direction. While I may have answers, I could be wrong. I get in the way of learning something and creating the need…and feeding the hunger.

That’s what shortages need. The hunger to be fed. And we are not feeding the hunger.

We market lazily in business and in research (social-behavior-education) hinking that one person is the answer because they are black, brown, puertorican, haitian…(you get the rhyme).

Feed the hunger. Feed the shortage.

What’s your industry hunger? What’s your geographic hunger? What’s the city hunger? What is the hunger as described in parent groups in your area?

The hunger described by others guides the frame of the questions. We survey, research, and product develop better when market research is done as a first step.

I hope offense is not the feeling from reading this…if so, you’ve made it personal. It’s not. We have a big job to do and other industries have answers we have long ignored. Read that information and research too…integrate it 😉

#WeBuiltASchool called #ExcelPrep. I have more teacher applications than we will need.

#Outschool built an online platform. There are more teachers – licensed and certified there.

I could name more.

What did they do? What did we do?

Fed the Hunger through Innovation. People want innovation…not just new but real. And when real sees real…its attractive.

When we innovate inside of places and systems with no enviornmental or behavior changes, the systemic issues and history cannot be erased. It’s blurred lines and people are over it. We move on.

And here’s another thing…pay for your marketing. Use your marketing resources and…pay for it. SEO your stuff. GoogleAd your stuff.

If you believe in what your are doing…your cause. Invest in it differently. Be committed beyond getting it done (and there is value in that, don’t get me wrong). But what else…?

Do More to Get More.


Landria Seals Green (daughter of Bob Seals)

Translation: a person who keeps going, jumps over hurdles, drinks her water, and keeps her head to the sky.

References that Inspired this blog post

Fantilli, R. D., & McDougall, D. E. (2009). A study of novice teachers: Challenges and supports in the first years. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(6), 814–825.

Jones, N., & Youngs, P. (2012). Attitudes and Affect: Daily Emotions and Their Association with the Commitment and Burnout of Beginning Teachers. Teachers College Record, 114(2).

And this old episode about Recruitment Culture…people still listen.

cover Photo by Artsy Crafty on StockSnap

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