Don’t give up on teaching, union president urges
With high stakes testing taking over class time and a national teacher shortage that keeps growing, being a teacher today can be tough.
Despite these challenges, persistent students are still flocking to a profession they say offers plenty of rewards.
“Any job has negatives, but this job has the most pros,” said Erika Guido, an early childhood education major. “Children give you gifts every day – they give you hugs, they tell you things that make you laugh and maybe by mistake they call you mom.”
Future educators like Guido heard first-hand the challenges they can expect in the classroom during a recent visit with Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Weingarten bemoaned the burdensome mandatory testing regimens enacted by Congress and state legislatures.
“Test scores have been used to shame students, penalize teachers, close schools,” she said. “It’s sapped joy out of teaching and learning from teachers and kids.”
Yet, the need for teachers has never been greater.
“There’s no doubt that teaching is a tough profession, but those drawn to the classroom shouldn’t be deterred by the challenges,” said Laura Dinehart, executive director of FIU’s School of Education and Human Development. “Passion and persistence are the only way to ensure that we give voice and continue to elevate the profession.”
Nationwide, 2016 could be the year with the fewest number of teachers available in a decade, while the demand for teachers has grown steadily since the great recession, according to the California-based Learning Policy Institute.
Florida in particular faces teacher shortages in the areas of special education, reading, physics, earth and space science and general middle school science. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Florida also has a need for instructors for children who are hearing impaired.
FIU’s School of Education and Human Development is working to address teacher shortages by developing teaching academies in local high schools where students can explore a career in education. The first such teaching academy launched at Ronald Reagan/Doral Senior High School in 2015.
Our secondary education programs also offer students who are majoring in the sciences and humanities the opportunity to become certified teachers and to learn more about teaching through classes and internships.
In addition, the school is inviting school districts throughout Florida and the rest of the United States to Don’t give up on teaching, union president urges: