PROVO (ABC4 Utah) - Provo City School District has created a new curriculum in response to the teacher shortage in Utah. The Careers in Education program is aimed at exposing high school students to the many career possibilities within education in a vocation-style class.
Superintendent Keith Rittel explained, "We've been running auto shops, computer programming, family and consumer sciences, we've been training kids and giving them experiences in hundreds of areas out there and we've completely overlooked education."
The Utah Education Association reported an 800-900 teacher shortage last school year. Rittel says, "This is our big goal, we're hoping that we can send a lot more students into the pipeline to become teachers."
Paige Coleman is a student in the new class at Provo High School and she says she loves it. She explained the program as, "A class where we learn about the careers that are in education, and not just being limited to being a teacher, but also learning how to be a principal, an administrator."
Coleman says her teacher has made all the difference. "I love the class because Mrs Pierce is the teacher. She's what a teacher should be like so I think it's perfect that she's teaching the class."
Kirstin Pierce is teaching the first Careers in Education class in Utah. She says the response has been great so far. "They've been fun, they've been engaged, they've been willing to try anything, they've been up in front doing some teaching themselves. We went to BYU and they were in a class and they were able to talk with other pre-service teachers about what they enjoy so they know what the future holds for them in college."
Superintendent Rittel began working on the program a little over a year ago. Before coming to work in Utah, he worked in Washington state where classes on careers in education are common. After making the move and learning about the staggering teacher shortage in Utah, he thought the program might help.
This semester, there's just one class at Provo High, but next semester there's a class lined up at Timpview High School and Ritter hopes to keep expanding. "One of th things we're looking at down the road is concurrent enrollment at a local university so that they could actually get a little bit of a head start into the university training level."
Paige Coleman says that even though class only started a month ago, she already knows she wants to be a teacher.
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