The Harrison County School District has started a new teacher academy program to try and combat the teacher shortage within our state.
News 25’s Gabby Easterwood visited Lyman Elementary School today to talk with some program participants who could be running their own classroom one day.
This past summer, Katie Bilbo, a sophomore at Harrison Central, volunteered by teaching bible study to children. That’s when she decided she wanted to pursue a career in teaching. “I was working with these kids in low income areas and I realized over the summer, I was like, I really enjoy doing that and I want to do that probably for the rest of my life.”
This experience with the Teacher Academy solidified her decision. “All the kids are different and you can just learn a lot from the teachers. They are helping us a lot. You can kind of get a feel for what you’re going into in your future.”
Bilbo wasn’t the only student who got a feel for teaching. She was joined by 27 other students from all three high schools in the district who worked alongside and observed teachers K through sixth grade. Harrison Central sophomore Jeremey Bosarge said, “The little kids you see them smile when they finally understand something and you get an immediate reward.”
This is the first year Harrison County School District has held this program. It all started as a way to get young people to choose teaching as a career and they hope it will help with the teacher shortage that we have in Mississippi. Teacher Academy Instructor Heather Cates said, “It gives them the opportunity to see what life is like in the classroom, real world. You know, text books only tell you so much and it really introduces the student to the field of education.”
Students that successfully complete this two year program will be eligible for a $10,000 scholarship to attend William Carey University if they choose to go into education.
Currently there are 670 jobs openings on the Mississippi Department of Education’s website. The ultimate goal of the teacher academy is to inspire these students to choose teaching and to one day hopefully come back to teach in the Harrison County School District.