WT helps with the teacher shortage


Marcus Rogers

On March 23, 70 school districts from around the area visited with students and other attendees at the 2022 Educators EXPO in the First United Bank Center.

Texas has been facing a shortage of teachers for a few years now. West Texas A&M University helped bring students into contact with school districts at the Educators EXPO, which was held at the First United Bank Center on March 23.

2019 was the last time the WT Office of Career and Professional Development hosted an in-person Educators EXPO, with the 2020 EXPO being canceled and 2021 being virtual.

There were about 70 school districts in attendance at the EXPO. With only 60 student teachers graduating from WT in May, there are more spots available than students can fill.

Before student teachers are able to get their teaching certification, they must first participate in a teacher certification program and then pass a teaching certification exam. All of these steps are facilitated through the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in Austin.

Student teachers are then able to utilize their degree to help the younger generation in their educational journey. TEA makes sure that Texas students are being taught by the required standards by the federal and state government.

Successful implementation of teaching methods requires experience. That hands-on knowledge is sometimes hard to find.

“I was really lucky that I had [a clinical teacher] who, instead of letting me watch and learn, said, ‘Here, do it,’” said Destiny Talley, an educational leadership graduate student (M.Ed.).

The history of WT as a teaching college is inseparable from the University identity. From 1923 to 1949, WT’s name was “West Texas State Teachers College.” It should come as no surprise that the Educators EXPO had so many schools from multiple states looking for WT student teachers.

Local school districts have a close relationship of trust with WT. The university has been helping provide teachers to the Texas Panhandle for more than 100 years, so student teaching opportunities are plentiful for WT students.

Student teachers are aware of the insufficient pay for educators in the United States. However, the pay is not why students choose to go into education.

“I didn’t start school until the second grade,” Talley said. “I had this dope teacher who was really nice and sweet, she helped me catch up. I caught up that year because of all the love and support that she gave me.”

Wanting to make sure that kids are well-prepared for the future and have a guide through their early years is what keeps many teachers motivated.