ABOVE PHOTO: Jonny Wheeler, left, has a degree in art education, one of seven undergraduate art programs in UW-Stout’s School of Education. He also has a master’s in design from UW-Stout.
Help wanted: Teachers.
Across the United States the teaching profession, one historically considered critical to the future of the country, has been struggling to find the next wave of educators or simply to fill existing positions. The number of students going into teacher education programs dropped from 11% of college students in 2000 to 4.3% in 2018.
Partially as a result, Wisconsin K-12 schools made 2,805 emergency teacher hires in 2019-20, rising to nearly 3,700 in 2020 when the pandemic began, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Every state had teacher shortages in 2020.
Although the situation could improve as the pandemic wanes, the impacts of fewer high school graduates going into teaching fields will be felt for years to come, said Deanna Schultz, director of the School of Education at University of Wisconsin-Stout.
The door is open for jobs in many teaching disciplines. UW-Stout provides seven four-year programs as well as options for those with professional experience seeking certification and a teacher’s license.
“Nearly every community has a public school and they provide stable jobs with good pay and benefits, plus a schedule that allows parents to be on a schedule similar to their children. It is a great career for a high school student to consider, as well as someone who likes working with young people and is considering a career change,” Schultz said.