Teacher shortage means more job opportunities for college students

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Angelita Jones navigated through a sea of booths and people in a huge exhibit hall at Beau Rivage Monday morning. She was trying to pick-up some creative tools and creative ideas to help guide children along the path to literacy.

"That's my center. That's my joy there," said Jones. "I get my joy from helping another student and knowing that student has learned something."

Jones actually has a degree in Health Sciences, but decided to switch to Education. She's hoping to get an education award from AmeriCorps, so she can go back to school at Alcorn State University and become a certified teacher.

"And that is the problem, trying to find highly-qualified teachers for this area," said Jones. "I am working towards that. I don't think I'll have a problem worrying about a job here."

Jones is among 50 college students attending the Mississippi Reading Association Conference in Biloxi this week. With the teacher shortage expected to get worse next year, when six-thousand teachers become eligible for retirement across the state, the college students we talked to say they're very optimistic about landing jobs in the classroom.

"Children, they're always going to have to learn, and schools are always going to be open. So, I feel I won't be having a problem finding a job," said Lakisha Lane, who is majoring in Education at Mississippi State University.

Armed with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, the future educators are more eager than ever to start motivating students.

"I am very excited, because I can't wait to get in that classroom and do what I know needs to be done as a teacher," said Jones.

Mississippi has several programs in place to help recruit teachers. For example, if you have a bachelor's degree, you can teach under an emergency license while you are trying to get certified.