The President of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), Seamus Lahart, is warning that children will be sent home from school because there are not enough teachers.
He says that graduates are voting with their feet and changing career because of the disparity in pay between teachers who qualified before 2010.
Mr Lahart told Newstalk Breakfast that the Labour Court decision to intervene in the nurses' strike indicated that the Government appeared to be prepared to act when there is a crisis.
“Something needs to be done about it. There is a crisis in teaching.”
He added that the TUI had “toned down” its campaign during the nurses’ dispute, but they would now be resuming their campaign in earnest.
If it was possible to sort out the nurses' pay dispute then it should be possible to address the disparity in pay for teachers, he said.
“We have come through a few years of growth, are we waiting for the next crisis?”
Mr Lahart said there is an inevitability about the crisis in teaching. Children may need to be sent home from school, classes could be doubled in size because there are no teachers.
“Young graduates are deciding with their feet, they are choosing different careers.”