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Teaching residency helping decrease teacher shortage in the Brazos Valley

Posted at 10:21 AM, Jul 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-27 11:21:38-04

BRAZOS VALLEY, TX — Last school year teachers were faced with many challenges, which led to an overwhelming increase of teachers leaving the education system.

A program at Texas A&M is helping fill some of these vacancies with the next generation of educators.

Many schools are still facing teacher and substitute shortages.

Right now schools are hiring for the upcoming school year although it's still hard and one program at Texas A&M is helping ease educators into the system.

Schools like Caldwell ISD are struggling to fill vacancies.

"We're all still trying to hire teachers, that's another huge challenge for us, we have a shortage of teachers," said Andrew Peters, Cladwell ISD Superintendent.

One tactic many schools have turned to is raising teacher's pay as an incentive to get more people to apply.

"We've raised teacher salaries in this state tremendously," said Peters. "The school districts here in the Brazos valley have taken very large gains just in the five years I've been in Caldwell we've gone from a $38,000 starting pay to a $45,000-starting pay."

The Aggie Teacher Education Residency Model provides A&M students with mentorship and the chance to gain hands-on experience in the classroom.

Aspiring teachers like Samantha Siebenaller witnessed the struggles teachers faced firsthand through her year of student training at Caldwell ISD.

Siebenaller says, "most student teachers only student teach for a semester, so they really only see the beginning of the school year or the end of the school year. I was able to see all the bumps and turns in between for a yearlong experience."

Siebenaller went through the Aggie term program as a student-teacher at Caldwell ISD. She says the increased workload was too much for some to handle creating a large turnover rate.

"I've noticed firsthand that there's been a high teacher turnover rate mostly because of the difficulties of the pandemic," added Siebenaller.

Through the Aggie term program, Siebenaller says she built relationships with her colleagues that gave her the confidence to make it through even the toughest times.

This upcoming school year Siebenaller will begin her first year as a full-time educator teaching her very own third-grade class.