Motivating students to pursue career in teaching

- Osceola County Public Schools are in need of teachers. The district said more than 100 positions went unfilled at the start of the school year.  Now the district is kicking off a new program to motivate students to pursue a teaching career. The best part of the program: a guaranteed job after students graduate.

It’s a program to help high school students get a taste of what's like to be a teacher. It also helps students decide if it's a career path they want to choose before they go to college.

“That’s the goal because we have such a shortage for teachers in our district,” said Paula Phelps who teaches the “Future Teachers Academy” at St. Cloud High School.

Ms. Phelps is trying to motivate students to step into her shoes one day.

“I think once they get a taste of it in my program they come back excited and glowing about, ‘I interacted with this child’ and sharing stories, it helps them build that fire for teaching,” Phelps stated.

The academy is for graduating seniors at Osceola County public schools, once they’re selected they will enroll at Valencia College for two years, transfer to UCF to get their bachelor’s degree, and have a guaranteed job as a teacher in their hometown.

“I think that’s tremendously beneficial for our students,” said Dr. Kathleen Plinske President of Valencia’s Osceola campus.

That got the attention of several St. Cloud High School students.

“Everyone wants a guaranteed job that’s a fact,” said high school senior Carlos Cortez.

“It’s good because I grew up here. It would be helpful to see the other students like my peers, maybe I teach their kids,” said another student Nicole Hernandez who is a freshman at St. Cloud High School.

And that's what teachers, like Ms. Phelps, want to hear.

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