For the past few years, fewer teachers have been stepping into the classroom, and the shortage has started to drastically affect the K-12 education system. Jennifer Faison Kelly, Ph.D., professor and dean of the School of Education, sees the crisis as a challenge that Capital can help solve.
“I think the teacher shortage is opening up opportunities for our students. For the next two years, certain districts can choose to have individuals in their classrooms to sub and they don’t have to have a degree. So, in some cases when our students aren’t taking any classes, they’re trying to sub,” said Kelly.
Capital works with “at least 16 different districts in Central Ohio.” Especially during the shortage, these districts have come to depend on the expertise and passion that Capital students bring to each classroom.
“We don’t want just anyone teaching. We believe that there are certain skills that a teacher should have. Ohio is looking at some interesting opportunities, including working with higher education institutions to get students actually working in schools earlier and still going full time to college,” said Kelly.
As a lifelong teacher and education advocate, Kelly sees the shortage firsthand as she works alongside her students in traditional K-12 classroom settings.
“I am addressing the teacher shortage personally because I am a substitute teacher for Columbus City Schools. I have a substitute teaching license and sub half days typically on Fridays at least once or twice a month or when my schedule opens up,” said Kelly.
“As the dean of the School of Education, I felt it was the least I could do to help address the teacher shortage. In addition, it also helps me to learn more about the students that we’re serving, specifically in Columbus City Schools. And it helps to inform my leadership as we prepare future teachers to work in the school system.”
From individualized curriculum plans to life skills that candidates will use inside and outside their future classrooms, Capital’s School of Education prides itself on focusing on each student through a holistic lens.
“At Capital, we’re revisiting the qualifications to be a teacher. Of course, you need basic reading, and writing, and we have those guidelines in place, but we are really looking at our program and preparing students for the licensure exams,” said Kelly. “For example, we have tests. Some students may have test anxiety. At Capital, we have wrap-around services to support students going through the program. We have high expectations for our candidates to become teachers, but we going to help them along the way.”
While the teacher shortage has increased the demand for qualified teachers in the classroom, Capital graduates have always been sought after for their training and dedication to the practice.
“Our districts want Capital grads in their schools because they know we have high quality expectations for our candidates,” said Kelly. “I’ve always said I want people out there teaching who want to teach. If you don’t want to teach, don’t do it.”
To learn about Capital’s School of Education, visit https://www.capital.edu/academics/majors-and-minors/education/.