School uses technology to fight teacher shortage

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - There is a shortage of teachers in Arkansas and that is being felt in Region 8, especially in the rural school districts.

"Everybody is in the same boat so when you come across somebody who potentially has the ability, they're just gone," Newport High School Principal Terri Kane said.

She said they have dealt with the problem this school year.

Kane said good teachers are in high demand but there is low supply, especially for math.

"So we had to start thinking outside the box," she said.

There were no local candidates, so Superintendent Dr. Terry Bennett asked Brit Singleton, a teacher who is originally from Arkansas and licensed by the state, to teach through a video chat application.

Singleton now teaches math class every day at Newport.

Kane said students and parents have adjusted well to this change.

"When the students found that it didn't matter if she was here, they were still going to get the same quality that they were going to get if she was standing in the classroom, they began to relax a little," Kane said. "They began to ask more questions. They began to understand that she still cares about them even though she's not physically standing in the classroom."

Singleton teaches from her home in North Carolina.

"It's different, but I like that," Singleton said. "There have been challenges with this that you'd never expect to have. Things like not being able to see exactly what a student is writing on their paper being able to be right next to them to explain how to do a problem, so there have been challenges but I think it's been fun."

Kane said this type of technology may be the solution for rural schools to offer more classes or fill teaching spots in the future.

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