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U of R hosts teacher recruitment event

February 02, 2019 06:16 PM

In the next few years, experts say New York state could be facing a teacher shortage.

There is an increased demand for teachers because of retirements, more student enrollment, and fewer people entering the profession.

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Since 2009-2010, The New York State Union of Teachers reports enrollment in teacher education programs has decreased by roughly 47%. At the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education, officials are trying to get more people into the education field.

Liz Van Son graduated from School of the Arts in the Rochester City School District, after matriculating through the Warner School of Education, she has returned to RCSD as a teacher at World of Inquiry School.

"I love that there is so much culture, so much community, so much to learn from them as well as teaching them," Van Son said.

Van Son was one of several students at the Warner School of Education's Why Teach. The goal was to recruit teachers in the midst of what experts are calling a looming teacher shortage.

"Events like this really helps me realize and hone in on why I want to do the work that I'm doing," Van Son said. "It kind of helps me relay that message to other people that are wondering should I go into this?"

Kevin Meuwissen, director of Teacher Education says Why Teach brought together people to talk about the different fields that are in high demand and incentives and resources for prospective educators.

"One of the things that we do is we offer a 50% scholarship as soon as you come in the door," Meuwissen said. 

Meuwissen says students from the education school graduate ready to head to the classroom and by partnering with local districts it helps those teachers stay in the area.

"When people are in a teacher education program and coming out of a teacher education program, what kinds of connections do they have with other educators and leaders in the community and how do those connections turn into working professional relationships," Meuwissen said.

There's a critical need for teachers in Special Education, English as a Second Language, Math and Science.

Meuwissen says the school is most focused on finding people who are really passionate about education.

"Not just can I get out there and fill the shortage, but really is this the career trajectory for me," Meuwissen said.

Liz Van Son says going through the Warner School of Education has confirmed this is the best career path for her. She encourages others to really figure out if they have a passion for this work.

"Just say is this who I want to be around every day 6 and a half to 7 hours a day? Do I love it,? Do I feel a spark when I'm around it," Van Son asked.
 

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Kaci Jones

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