By Kathryn Gisi

TEXAS — In classrooms all across Texas students are being taught by a substitute teacher. Not because their regular teacher was out sick but because they don’t have a permanent instructor. 

  • Proximity Learning platform functions like video chat system
  • West Texas schools dealing with major teacher shortage 
  • Virtual system will be rolled out in coming weeks 

There’s a statewide teacher shortage, so the Texas Education Agency is offering a new round of grants, hoping to encourage a career in education. But some districts say they can’t wait for those teachers to be trained, so they’ve opted for a virtual learning environment. 

The Proximity Learning platform works like any video chat system. 

“You have the teacher who’s actually at home, who’s working with the students. The students see her, she sees the students, and they raise their hand to answer questions. She has a white board, so she’s actually going over the different math equations, and she’s interacting with the students,” said CEO Evan Erdberg.  

Ector ISD in West Texas voted to implement a virtual learning system into four high school classrooms. They’re desperate for full-time teachers. 

“It’s almost at a crisis level. We have about 240 teacher openings right now, teacher vacancies. We’re not having much luck recruiting anybody out here and then we have a problem retaining them as well,” said Mike Adkins with Ector ISD. 

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