SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Teacher shortages nationwide have greatly impacted education and Worth County educators are doing their part to combat the crisis.
Three years ago, the Georgia Department of Education implemented a new program. “Georgia’s Future Educators Signing Day” recognizes students who want to pursue a career as a teacher.
“An internal motivator, so to speak, it’s kinda like a commitment to yourself that this is what I want to do, this is what I wanna pursue,” said Melissa Edwards, Worth County High assistant principal. "It’s really a formalized goal setting acknowledged in ceremony.”
It appears to be working at Worth County High School, as they had around 13 students participate during Tuesday’s signing day.
Edwards said that’s similar to last year’s numbers.
Programs like this help combat a nationwide teacher shortage, officials said.
According a U.S. Department of Education report released in June 2017, elementary instruction, English language arts and mathematics were the subjects needing teachers in Georgia.
Those needs are different then what was reported when the study began.
Between 1990 and 1992, subjects like behavior disorders and industrial arts in first through twelfth grades lacked teachers.
“Research tells us some of it or most of it is self-efficiency," Edwards said. "They feel like they may not be able to accomplish the task set forth before them as an educator because educators’ jobs are getting bigger and bigger every year with the responsibilities that they have. Another thing is of course leadership style, organizational climate, they’re a lot of factors that play into the teacher shortage but Georgia right now is having a difficult time recruiting teachers in lots of areas.”
Edwards said the Worth County school district has open educator positions that are waiting to be filled to continue combating the teacher shortage across the nation.
Elizabeth Souter is a WCHS 12 grader who attended and is already achieving her dream of becoming a teacher.
She’s following in the footsteps of her mother and interning at Worth County Primary school.
She describes her passion for education and says “some kids don’t really have a good home to go home too and I think educators are really important because they can be there for the kid and make a difference for them."
She plans to stay close to home and "definitely stay in Georgia, I mean Worth County is a possibility.”
Souter is currently working on some of her college core classes at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton.
She plans to become either a third or second grade teacher.