FAMU student reacts to teacher shortage in Florida

Chris Petley the Leon County School district communications coordinator.
Ila Wilborn | The Famuan

Leon County, like many school districts in the state, is desperate to hire more teachers in different disciplines.

That’s why Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s Joanna Atkinson is looking forward to graduating. She is majoring in elementary education and expects to have a job as soon as has her degree

“I know that I will soon be certified and I have the drive and passion to work in the classroom. Most schools are in need of teachers immediately so it will most likely increase my chances in getting a job after graduation,” said Atkinson.

For the 2018-2019 school years, the Florida Department of Education has reported a critical teacher shortage in areas of Florida.

Teachers are needed in the following areas: Math, Science, English, and English for Speakers of other languages, Exceptional Student Education, Mathematics, and Reading.

Leon County School’s communications coordinator and media relations, Chris Petley believes the thought of having to take more courses can possibly scare future educators off from entering the industry.

“Not only do people have to go through their college degree courses, but then there are other things thrown at them with continuing education and constant changes to education every year by the legislature and other factors,” said Petley.

Teachers lacking the right certifications as well as degrees can cause a teacher to be not qualified to instruct students in different subject areas. The two types of educator certificates are temporary and professional.

According to the Florida Department of Education website, the maximum percentage of correct answers needed to achieve the minimum passing score for the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) and the Florida Educators Leadership Exam (FELE) is 70%.

There are multiple requirements, examinations, and test teachers must take when seeking a teacher positions in a K-12 system. The FTCE requires candidates to take one of 42 subject areas examinations as well as the General Knowledge, and Professional Education Tests.

While passing certifications and examinations play a huge part in the teacher shortage, the lack of funds in schools can also cause teachers to walk out on students.

“The school board can allocate more money for not only teacher pay, but for resources and supportive staff. A lot of times administration and teachers are not really on the same wave length so just finding supportive administration, and getting more resources and supplies for teachers,” said Atkinson.

Fourth year elementary education student, James Nelson believes teachers lack the motivation needed to keep classrooms going and students learning.

“We need to realize that teachers are a large part of our communities and that children are the way of the future so if we can’t have any motivation for them then it’s kind of over,”

Years ago, the FDOE would offer positions then turned away applicants but now, they have to go out and recruit teachers that are highly qualified to be in classrooms.

The Leon County School district and Florida State University’s college of education are now working together to look into different ways that they can market and recruit high school students to go to college and come out with their degree in education.

“We’ll continue to do as much as we can to recruit folks and establish new partnerships with colleges, even in our high schools, to highlight the positivity around becoming a teacher and the impact it has on students and the future of our country as a whole,” said Petley.

For more information and updates on the teacher shortage in Florida, visit www.fldoe.org