Teacher Shortage 2023 - Is Technology the Solution?

Writing this during the 2023 winter storms, I am sitting in my study at home with the heater in my room set to a cozy 68 degrees. As I look out of the window, there’s about 3 feet of snow and ice covering everything from “freezing rain”–something I didn’t realize was a thing until today. With all the ice, the roads are treacherous. Cars and trucks have been abandoned, some having slid into ditches.

Operating an accredited online high school in the education technology sector, all our courses are online, all our teachers, as well as our school support staff and students are also online. Where the traditional school districts in our area are inaccessible, and actually closed today due to the inclement weather, our school is operating as normal. Students from all over the US are currently taking courses, from the warmth and comfort of their own homes. Teachers, school support staff, special education staff, school administrators, accountants, software engineers and all the members of our team are working as normal.

This got me thinking about the teacher shortage 2023. This last few semesters, we’ve found ourselves increasingly supporting public schools and school districts across the country, enrolling their students into our online courses because they can’t hire new teachers and their classrooms are empty. At the same time we’ve been receiving large numbers of job applications from qualified teachers looking to shorten their daily commute and teach online from home.

Of course, schools were closed during Covid and this shifted education toward online options. We did experience a “Covid bump” but since Covid restrictions were lifted and students went back to the classrooms, we’ve actually seen the growth in our online enrollments accelerate. Quality online education has become more mainstream. Many students prefer remote learning and to study online from home, and teachers have decided this is the way they would like to work in future.

Online Learning teacher shortage 2023 teacher

The National Education Association's take on the teacher shortages in 2023

Post-Covid, many teachers are reluctant to go back to school. They prefer to work from home, so they’re looking for online teaching jobs, or other online jobs in the gig economy. The National Education Association (NEA), the largest teachers’ union in the country, recently reported that schools across the United States are facing a shortage of 300,000 teachers and staff.

In February, the NEA cited data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics stating that there were around 10.6 million teachers working in public schools in January 2020; at the time of the report, however, there were only 10 million—showing a net loss of around 600,000 teachers. A union poll from the NEA also reported that more than half (55%) of educators were considering leaving education earlier than they had originally planned. they reported that some of the main factors are:

  • Low pay: Many educators struggle to make a living wage, which can make it difficult to attract and retain teachers.

  • Lack of support and resources: Teachers often feel unsupported by their school districts and their school community, which can lead to burnout and a lack of motivation to stay in the profession.

  • Increased demand for teachers: As the population and class sizes grow, there is a greater need for educators in order to meet the demand for education.

  • Difficulty of the profession: The profession can be demanding and stressful, which can lead some teachers to leave the profession.

Burned Teacher Because of the teacher shortage 2023

Many teachers figure they can find a better option than working in the traditional school environment—they factor that the stresses and costs outweigh the rewards. In August 2022, the Economic Policy Institute released data that found teachers make about 23% less in their profession than “comparable college graduates” in other fields.

Teachers enter the profession wanting to make a difference in the world, playing a vital role in preparing students for success in college and beyond, and in helping to create a better future for society as a whole.

Teaching is generally considered a stable profession, with good job security and benefits. Even the prospect of taking summers off, as well as other breaks throughout the year are no longer enough to attract teachers back to the classroom.

Online education can help alleviate the teacher shortage and increase teaching positions by allowing more people to become teachers without having to be physically present in a classroom. Online education can make it possible for retired or substitute teachers to continue teaching remotely. Furthermore, online education can also help to redistribute existing educators to areas where they are needed most—helping to alleviate the national teacher shortage.

Online Education can combat the national teacher shortage and teacher turnover in school districts.

The teacher shortage in 2023 is a growing concern, as there are not enough qualified educators to meet the demands of our education system. Online education can play a crucial role in addressing this issue.

  1. Utilizing retired or substitute teachers to continue teaching remotely can fill the gap in areas where there is a shortage of teachers and make the most use of experienced educators.

  2. Online education can digitally redistribute existing teachers to areas where they are needed most, helping to address the teacher shortage in certain areas.

  3. A personalized approach to teaching through online education can reach a larger number of students regardless of their location, providing access to quality education for all learners including those ones in rural areas.

  4. Collaboration among educators through online education platforms can provide opportunities for teachers to share lesson plans, resources, and best practices, and improve the overall quality of education.

  5. Online education removes the need for teachers to have a physical presence in the classroom, enabling a more diverse range of people to become teachers, helping address the teacher shortage of 2023.

  6. Lowering the cost through online education can make it more accessible to individuals regardless of their financial situation, and create more opportunities for students of low income areas.

Online Education for the teacher shortage 2023

When districts can’t find teachers, students suffer.' Here's why teacher shortages are disproportionately hurting many districts

In the US, education is handled individually by each state. In Texas, many school districts are adapting to four-day school weeks to recruit teachers–they found they could attract teachers from schools operating a traditional 5-day week. Arizona recently passed a law that allows college students to take teaching jobs as teaching assistants, while in Florida, military veterans with no teaching experience are being granted five-year certificates to conduct the teaching profession. These might alleviate the problem in the short term, but these measures don’t provide a long-term solution and hinder the quality of education.

Oversized Class due to the teacher shortage

So how can this problem be solved in the long term? The answer has to lie with online education and various forms of education technology. It doesn’t make sense for a teacher to commute to school, burning up gasoline, regardless of whether it’s snowing, along with dozens of students, for the teacher to stand in front of the class and deliver a lecture on a particular topic, when there are fabulous videos covering that same material, usually in a more detailed, effective and entertaining way.

Classes can take place online, without the distractions of the classroom and without burdening the teacher at all . The teacher can then spend more time checking in with each student, perhaps through video-conference, to answer questions and make sure the student isn’t getting left behind. This help to avoid teacher burnout

Education technology relieves teachers of many of the burdensome tasks that are deterring them from commuting to traditional schools. Without lecturing or grading quizzes and tests, educators can focus on more productive activities, with better educational outcomes for the students.

Relaxed teacher in online class

Students spend much of their time online, with some form of phone or device, so they don’t need to be convinced that video-based, self-paced, teacher-supported online courses are the way to go.

Educators have been slow to adapt to the changing world, but teachers are making decisions on their careers for themselves, and these decisions are having a big impact on schools across the country

The teacher shortage of 2023 is only going to disappear when we allow computers to shoulder the burden of lecturing, grading quizzes, calculating grades and many of the menial tasks traditionally given to educators. Quality online education not only reduces the burden placed on teachers, but it actually frees them to teach.

With online education, we can make the job of teaching more satisfying, convenient and rewarding. Supported by an almost unlimited bank of automated systems in the cloud, fewer teachers will be able to educate more students and do so more effectively.

Happy class after teacher shortage solved


When  a school is unable to hire a teacher for a particular subject, the students can be enrolled in a Silicon Valley High School course. This can be done in a matter of days. SVHS is an accredited online high school that offers a wide range of courses taught by experienced and certified teachers. The SVHS teachers provide grading and feedback to the students and ultimately provide the final grade, while SVHS serves as the school of record and provides an official transcript once the student completes the course.

This solution is particularly useful for schools located in rural areas or with a small student body, as it allows you to offer a wider range of courses without having to hire additional teachers. It also ensures that your students receive a quality education from experienced and certified teachers who are experts in their subject areas.

In the Long-Term, Technology (including AI Bots) Can Ease the Shortage

New technologies, including AI bots, will be able to free teachers up, taking much of the burden they shoulder today, providing teachers more time to teach and enjoy the resulting job satisfaction.

In 2023, online courses and quality online education can ease the teacher shortage and staff vacancies by teaching certain classes online, but regardless of the weather or any pandemic-driven lock-downs, education technology and accredited online schools like Silicon Valley High School will be capable of handling millions of students and eradicating the teacher shortage in 2024 and beyond.

By David Smith, Founder & CEO of Silicon Valley High School

David Smith

A former Apple World Marketing Manager, David has more than 30 years’ experience of founding and managing technology startups. He holds a JD from Santa Clara University School of Law, Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing from the University of Westminster and a BS (Honors) Computer Science and Economics from the University of Leeds. In the 1990’s David founded and acted as CEO for SurfMonkey, the leading web browser and Internet safety service for children. David has authored several books on business and intellectual property and is recognized by IAM magazine as one of the world’s leading intellectual property strategists.