Open Table looks into teachers’ lives during the teacher shortage (includes podcast)

At the beginning of summer 2022, many schools revealed a difficult situation. The staff and more importantly, teachers resigned from their jobs, leaving more than 9000 open positions. Low wages, lack of student respect and unfair working hours have decreased the number of teachers in Florida over the years.

Since the pandemic, teachers have noticed the pressure of having to keep up with students and large amounts of paperwork that were not included in their salary. Because of this, teachers like Cristina are beginning to consider other alternatives to be able to pay their bills and live in an ever more expensive city like Orlando.

Cristina Melendez is a Mexican-American teacher and has been living in Orlando for seven years. She went to school in Mexico and got her degree in teaching at the University of Guanajuato. She started off her teaching career as an ESOL teacher at an elementary school in Orlando, while also teaching French because she couldn’t live off of just one full-time teaching job. Despite teaching French as a part-time job, she actually made a better income teaching French part-time than she did teaching ESOL full-time.

Currently, Melendez is teaching English at Living Word Academy in Orlando. She is also still working part-time jobs alongside her full-time teaching job such as marketing and promoting different events to keep up with her bills. Unfortunately, most teachers have also resorted to having side jobs or working at universities while also working a full-time teaching job. Simply due to the fact, the salary offered to teachers doesn’t meet the hours and effort required to maintain a sustainable lifestyle.

In this podcast, we’ll discuss what it’s like to be a teacher during these times and a teacher’s perspective on how she would tackle the shortages. We will also look into the daily struggles of a teacher’s daily life at work, both at school and after school. Cristina will share with us her outlook on the situation, and how it has affected her and her environment.

Juliana Lona Santacruz was born and raised in México. Her major is Digital TV and Multimedia Production with a minor in Social Media and E-Analytics. She’s currently a full-time student while working on opening her marketing business once she graduates.

Loeny Vargas was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She has been living in the U.S. for 11 years. Her major is Digital Media and Interactive with a minor in Psychology. She’s currently working on developing her online business and getting an internship related to her career field.

Matias Landi is an Italian-Cuban student at FIU. He is a senior and is pursuing a degree in digital TV and multimedia production. He is comfortable anywhere in the studio. He hopes to be a director for any media or producer. He enjoys traveling and filming as well as going out.