Seminar welcomes aspiring teachers amid statewide shortage

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:16 PM CDT
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BATESVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Two organizations are working together to bring resources to community members who want to be teachers.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in Arkansas, there is currently a teacher shortage in about every grade level and about every core subject.

In Independence County, leaders are working to fill the pipeline.

“We need committed professionals, we need people who care about children, who care about that achievement for them,” said Jessica Saum, 2022 Arkansas Teacher of the Year.

On Thursday, March 30, dozens of people met to learn how to be a teacher.

The Independence County Chamber of Commerce and the Independence County Education Foundation noticed the need for more teachers in the county and came up with a plan.

“I was able to meet with some students in the educator rising program, future educators, or students considering education,” Saum said.

Saum joined the organizations and shared her journey to the classroom.

“I did not go straight to college and into the teaching profession, so it’s never too late,” she said.

Like Saum, many people do not have a traditional route into the classroom.

That’s why the meeting helped give people advice on how to be a teacher other than going to a four-year college straight out of high school.

“How can we fill the pipeline with people interested in the profession that maybe aren’t just coming out of high school,” Saum said.

Attendees got information on how to get licensure with a bachelor’s degree and even years after going to college and working in another field.

There was also a panel where current teachers discussed their experiences in the classroom and offered advice for those seeking education as a profession.