Low Pay and No Support Scares Students Away from Becoming Teachers
North Carolina has great schools with smart students who want to pursue teaching careers. However, with the current issues involving teacher pay, many students are scared to go into a career that will leave them with more debt. The General Assembly and politicians in Raleigh have taken away programs that help students go into teaching and have not replaced them. We will end up with no teachers in the future if things don't change!
When I talk to the same teachers who inspired me, they warn me of how pursuing a career in education puts many in debt after college graduation. Debt from student loans isn’t too alarming. Students pursuing other professions graduate with debt, too, but wishing to stay in a state that doesn’t put much priority toward teacher salaries is frightening. At this point, it doesn’t make sense for me to teach when I am already scrambling for enough money to pay for my college education next year.Programs such as the North Carolina Teaching Fellows allowed students to study education in college in preparation to lead a classroom while financially supporting students if they taught in North Carolina for four years after graduation. But in 2011, the N.C. General Assembly voted to discontinue the program and left many future teachers with fewer options of how to make attending school and pursuing their dreams of becoming educators affordable. Since eliminating the program, the General Assembly has offered no alternative, sustainable ways to attract and retain talented students in the field of education. Several bills would have provided similar financial assistance to prospective teachers, but none has been voted in.For the sake of future teachers and generations who will need high-achieving, passionate students to become their teachers, programs such as the Teaching Fellows Program need to be reinstated. Without some form of financial incentives, many students interested in becoming teachers will struggle to make a career in education a feasible option.