OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The country is facing a teacher shortage, and this is evident on the Coast as well. In Ocean Springs, what was once a long waiting list of prospective teachers has dwindled down significantly over the years.
Many teachers are leaving this occupation, and low pay is a primary reason.
Jerry Twiggs the assistant superintendent in Ocean Springs says, "They can get another job. They can go in with a four-year degree and start at a higher pay rate than they are going to pay in teaching."
According to Twiggs, another reason for the shortage is stress.
"With the testing, the accountability models, things like that. Also, the uncertainty in the funding schemes happening. There's so much going on in the education world today and that classroom teacher, it does affect them. And the effect is stress."
But some who have chosen to stay say there's a special feeling that's hard to let go.
Educator Ernie LeBatard says, "It's about the reward you get at the end, and the gratification of teaching students, and see that light bulb come on when you do teach them something,"
Student Wyatt Miller won't forget about the impact his teachers had on his life. "They taught us how to think critically, how to write, and how to be a better human being overall. My teachers are always there for us, and I'm very thankful for them."
Despite the stress in the classroom, despite the constant quest for better test scores, despite the relatively low pay for the profession, some of the people who gravitate towards teaching do it simply because they say it's like being in the family.
Just ask teacher Keith Carter. "My mom is a teacher; my wife is a teacher here. I have cousins that are teachers, and the profession just called to my name. And I love being a teacher."
That love could mean the current teacher shortage could be short-lived.
The school district will host a job fair March 10 from 10 am until 1 pm at Ocean Springs High School. Administrators are looking for people who don't necessarily have teaching degrees but do have other degrees and are interested in joining the profession.