LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- School districts across Southern California are preparing for a new school year, but an old problem of hiring enough teachers to fill vacancies will follow them into the classroom.
"We're facing an epidemic when it comes to a teacher shortage," said Jill Lemond, the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services at Oxford Community Schools.
The profession has been hit hard as teachers have long expressed frustration with a number of issues including low-starting pay, burnout related to the COVID pandemic, violence in schools and the lack of respect from students.
A nationwide survey found that just 20% of teachers are "very satisfied" with their jobs, with one in three teachers saying they are likely to quit in the next two years.
At a technology seminar in San Pedro, Catholic school teachers came to learn about using technology in their classroom, including artificial intelligence.
"The hardest thing is reinventing how we approach learning, and for a lot of people, that can be very off-putting and difficult, so therefore, they leave the profession," said Fernando Chavez, a special education instructor and seminar lecturer.
In Los Angeles, there are more than 450 teacher vacancies. Data shows nearly half of public education employees who left their jobs last spring resigned.
To make matters worse, applications for teaching credentials fell by 16% for the 2020-2021 school year when compared to the prior year.
State lawmakers are hoping to lure more people into the profession with a bill aimed at increasing teachers' pay by 50% over the next seven years.
For now, to ease the shortage, some districts are asking coaches and principals to help out in the classroom.