Education Students to Work as Teachers, Due to Shortage of Staff

The Education Ministry hopes the early integration will reduce the number of teaching students who choose not to enter the field after finishing their studies

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Israeli schoolchildren in the Tel Aviv area.
Israeli schoolchildren in the Tel Aviv area.Credit: Hadas Parush

The Education Ministry is encouraging teaching students to start working as teachers at schools during their third year of studies, in an attempt to address the country’s shortage of teachers.

As part of a program the ministry is pushing, teaching students will be given part-time jobs at schools during the upcoming school year, on a half-time or one-third time basis. Teaching students will be funneled into fields particularly lacking manpower, namely instruction in English, math, science, physics and computer science.

The teaching students will be treated as full-fledged teachers, and more experienced teachers from within the school will mentor them. They will not be required to prepare lesson plans, but rather will work off digital lesson plans developed by the Education Ministry that can be screened in the classroom.

The plan would pay them for their work, along with an extra 3,000-shekels-a-month grant so that the job pays better than other student jobs such as waitressing or delivering packages. Their classroom hours will be considered as part of the on-the-job training required to receive a teaching certificate.

The Education Ministry acknowledged that this was a stopgap measure only, as it does not increase the number of potential teachers in Israel, but rather just moves up the entry date into the system for this year’s third-year students. However, ministry sources said they hoped it would mitigate the phenomenon of students who complete teaching degrees and then choose not to enter the industry.

According to the Education Ministry, only 60 percent of teaching students find jobs within the education system immediately after finishing their studies.

Another stopgap measure the Education Ministry recently proposed was training Arab teachers to work in Israel’s Hebrew-language school systems.

The number of teaching students dropped by 16 percent over the past year, from 13,500 during the 2020-2021 school year, to 11,400 in the most recent school year.

In July, the Education Ministry found that there are 5,600 open teaching positions for the upcoming school year in September, primarily in central Israel.

Principals who spoke to Haaretz over the past several months said the shortage of teachers is more acute than in the past, and can be seen in teachers declining to take on extra responsibilities within the school such as serving as homeroom teachers or grade coordinators.

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