How MUW is working to keep students in the education field

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Around the nation, schools are struggling to fill teaching positions and keep them filled.

The faculty at Mississippi University for Women recognizes that struggle to keep students in the education field and is working to fill that need.

For many, teaching is a calling, but when education students become classroom teachers, many find that there are challenges and barriers on the job that make it difficult to stay the course.

Professors at The W are gearing up their instruction to be ready for whatever they may face after graduation

Dean of Education Martin Hatton has been in higher education for 30 years.

Over time he’s seen many changes but he said one thing is always for sure.

“No two days in education will always be exactly the same,” said Hatton.

With nationwide teacher shortages, Hatton said the first few years in the profession will often make or break teachers.

It often stems from a lack of support.

“Statewide, region-wide, nationwide we lose as much as 50% of our new teachers within the first year two to three years so it’s a critical time frame. It’s one thing again to have that constant support and constant feedback and then going into the profession and you don’t have that same degree of support and feedback,” said Hatton.

Students in the education program at The W go through three field experiences or residencies before they can intern.

During this time they are placed at different schools and are exposed to various settings.

“They have an opportunity to see what all the different schools are like within the region and even if they go to a school outside the region they better understand that each school has its own dynamics and its own personality,” said Hatton.

The W knows that even with all of the preparation its education students receive, the first year they stand before their own classroom they are going to have challenges. Their success in meeting those challenges is often critical to their decision to stay in the field.

“We try to offer years’ worth of support for our students in case they have questions. They have already got a strong working relationship with us and we want them to realize we are still here to support them afterward,” said Hatton.

Faculty and Staff at The W are working on a new program called W Best.

This would offer support and assistance to their graduates in that crucial time frame of one to three years.

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