Currently, Pasco County schools are looking to fill nearly 200 jobs and more openings are appearing as new schools are built. This is one of the reasons the district has just launched a New Teacher Academy to enable high school students to move towards a career in education.
It’s “American Pride” day at River Ridge High School in New Port Richey. But these students are also proud to be part of Pasco County’s very first New Teacher Academy.
“I think it’s really cool to experience it at a young age to show what it’s like to affect people’s lives like that, and I think that’s what the teaching profession is doing for. you, ”student Caleb Sheldon said.
Some of these high school kids knew they wanted to be teachers one day. Others, like Larissa Johnson, tried their luck by signing up.
“And I absolutely fell in love with it,” Johnson said.
As you might expect, the students here are learning the craft of teaching.
“This is an opportunity for us to give education a new face,” said Beth Hess, senior teacher at Pasco Co. New Teacher Academy.
This lesson comes at a crucial time. In colleges nationwide, the number of students specializing in education has fallen six percent over the past decade. So this class is one-sided, Pasco County hopes to energize the next generation to consider a career as a teacher.
“I think that by following this program, they will be gifted teachers,” Hess said.
The academy’s 38 students get a real-world glimpse of what it’s like to teach. They work with third graders at Hudson Elementary, the county’s only failing school. And already, these future teachers know that they are making a difference.
“They strive to learn more than anything. Even at the age of 8, 9, 10, they know they want to be in a better position than their parents,” Johnson said.
They learn strategies to help the youngest to overcome their academic difficulties. Right now, they’re creating name tags with motivational messages for every student’s desk at Hudson Elementary School.
“Each is personally unique to each student so that everyone can feel special,” said student Matthew Pecori.
“It’s going to encourage students not to give up on what they’re doing and to want to do more and to want to learn,” student Karlee Bedson said.
Most teens are now convinced that they will someday be teachers. And as an incentive, Pasco’s superintendent personally guaranteed a teaching position for every student who completes the new teachers’ academy and then earns a degree in education.