What’s Working: Solution to teaching staffing shortage

What's Working

MOBILE Ala. (WKRG) — In tonight’s What’s Working, too many students and not enough teachers. The Mobile County School System (MCPSS) has fixed a brand new problem that popped up this year. The Mobile County Academy of Virtual Learning was in need of teachers, and they found a creative solution to the staffing shortage.

MCPSS partnered with the University of South Alabama and hired over a dozen student teachers to fill the virtual positions. The student teachers were in their last semester at The University of South Alabama. They started teaching for the school system in August and graduated in December. The majority of them have liked being “thrown into the fire” so much that they are staying on with the school system.

New teacher, Ashley Field remembered the first time she began teaching for the school system.

“It was chaotic at first. It was hard to balance everything. It was so new, and we didn’t have anyone to look at how they were doing it. Our motto was that we are building the plane as we are flying it,” said Field.

Teacher Heather Treece was exited to take on new challenges when she started her career in education.

“When they said you will have your own classroom without a teacher with you all the time, I thought it would be a great opportunity. It was exciting,” said Treece. “It’s been incredible. I have learned so much.”

Danielle Smith, Director of the Mobile County Academy of Virtual Learning, said they had never offered a virtual option for K-5 until this year. That is why they were left scrambling to fill teaching positions.

“Finding the teachers to fill these spots was very difficult, and being able to bring in these USA teachers was a great opportunity,” Smith said.

Meri Catherine Brasfield is a USA instructor who mentored the student-teachers.

“They have done an amazing job taking the bull by the horns and getting started and getting this program on the ground,” Brasfield said.

These teachers have certainly risen to the challenge, teaching an entire grade virtually while they technically were still in school. They say it was worth it.

“Seeing the relationship I have with my kids makes me realize I can do this teaching thing for a long time, ” Ashley Field said.

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