The shortage of teachers has affected the whole of Germany, the federal states are competing for the best young talent. The situation is new: "We had a flood of teachers for decades," says Education Minister Alexander Lorz (CDU). That's why the state government has little experience with how to recruit teachers. In the meantime, however, the state has developed a campaign and advertises with posters for the teaching profession: "The future needs you: Become a teacher in Hesse!" is the slogan.

Rainer Schulze

Editor at the Rhein-Main-Zeitung.

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In the coming years, when the baby boomers retire, the situation could get even worse. The average age of teachers in Hesse is relatively low compared to that in other federal states and the staff shortage at schools is also less serious. "But replacing 2000 to 2500 people a year is not easy," says Lorz. In addition, there are additional needs due to new tasks such as inclusion, all-day education and the integration of refugee children. The number of teachers has therefore risen continuously over the years. While the country employed 40,000 teachers in the nineties, there are now almost 60,000.

Leadership role in schools

The country is therefore trying to increase the attractiveness of the job description. The keywords are: personnel development, management culture, post-qualification. For example, anyone who is supposed to run a school learns this "on the job", so to speak. "School leaders should have gained experience before the class. But it is also a management task to run such a school," says Lorz. Although only about five percent of the headmaster positions in Hesse are currently vacant. Nevertheless, it is important to make working conditions more attractive and to better prepare promising candidates for the leadership role.

The state government is therefore trying to qualify prospective school principals for the task through targeted support. It not only makes use of the Hessian Teachers' Academy's own training opportunities, but also cooperates with external partners. "We are looking for a special form of expertise when we work with partners. You can take on things that you don't have to initiate yourself," says Lorz.

"Teachers are queuing up"

Among these partners are foundations dedicated to promoting education. For example, the Heraeus Education Foundation. It is particularly committed to staff development in schools and supports teachers and school principals. In online seminars, participants learn how to take on a leadership role, motivate employees and master challenging situations.

"With our programs, we draw attention to all the new challenges in the teaching profession and impart skills to meet them," says Beate Heraeus, Chairwoman of the Foundation's Executive Board. Principles and methods from personnel and organizational development could be transferred from companies to schools. "Running a school is similar to running a medium-sized company," she says. The feedback from the participants was consistently positive. "The teachers and school administrators get distance from the daily routine and develop new approaches and methods."

The cooperation with Heraeus is very successful, says Lorz: "Teachers are literally queuing up for the foundation's program." Many teachers were interested in further education prospects and further training opportunities. Foundations could help: "The Ministry of Culture is a tanker, foundations are our speedboats."