Teacher shortage attributed to several factors

MaryCarr Eastman

Not only in Mississippi, but also across the US, there is a shortage of teachers. Some believe it is because of a low teacher salary, while others believe it is just a lack of interest in teaching. From interns to superintendents, these perspectives differ. 

Brandi Smith, intern at SHS, has always been passionate about teaching and believes it is a key part of being a teacher.  

“I’ve always been passionate about education and I’ve always wanted to help students achieve all of their goals in education. Particularly in the field of English because literacy is not that great right now in Mississippi. So, it’s more of a passion than anything else. I would say no teacher is really in it for the money.” 

Smith says that she would be fully prepared to start teaching first year out of college, and that she looks forward to doing so. 

After teaching for 28 years, Kelli Dawkins feels the lack of support and low salaries are major factors in teachers leaving so early in their careers. 

“I think that teachers are leaving the profession because of low salaries and state testing, and the pressure to perform without being supported by some of their legislators,” Dawkins said. 

Dawkins said that if the state offered better pay incentives and found more beneficial ways to support individuals [who teach in and who support public schools] instead of the test companies and consultants, then teachers would be more inclined to stay. 

Dr. Eddie Peasant, Superintendent of SOCSD, has been in the field of education for 27 years. He feels that educators need to work harder to present a positive front when encouraging students into the field. 

“I think that we need to encourage young, bright students and talk to them about the benefits of being an educator and what it means to their community… I think we must do a better job of promoting ourselves and promoting the field of education. That and continuing to fight for an increase in teacher salaries.” 

Most educators feel that increased support and salaries would help teachers feel more inclined to stay and teach instead of going into another profession.