Worries over cuts in education spending are hitting the next generation of teachers. The West College of Education at Midwestern State University has around 600 students working toward a teaching career. Many of them are worried about job prospects.
The concern is especially high among students that will be graduating soon. West College Dean Dr. Matthew Capps says next Fall will see one of the largest groups of graduates in school history. "I think they are very concerned about what's going to happen, what are the job prospects," said Capps.
Students affirmed Capps' take on the situation. "The topic is actually on the forefront of all of our minds," said Robert Thompson. Thompson is a Junior, set to graduate in Fall 2012. Thompson served in the Marine Corps and the US Army before following a call into education. He just hopes finding a job after graduation is a battle he can win. "They've already told us its probably not going to happen. I'll get my degree, I'll have my degree, they can never take my degree from me. So will I be a teacher, yes. Will I be a teacher straight out of college like some degrees offer, no," said Thompson.
Capps says there is still hope. He encourages students to pursue the most sought after specialties. Those in high demand include Secondary Math, Science, Spanish and Special Education. "We encourage them to look at all possible situations across more than just this region, look across the state because there are parts of the state that are looking to hire teachers right now," said Capps. Regions that are looking to hire include the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.
Thompson is willing to go wherever it takes to follow his passion. "I would teach anywhere I'm getting in this field for the kids and because I think it is something I should do for the rest of my life. This is the career I want to end with," he said.
Thompson feels that teaching is a higher-calling and hopes that the political process will not forget the impact educators make. "All of us feel we are very important to society and sometimes we sort of feel left out a little bit with the push to push us away. We hope that were not being forgotten," said Thompson.
Regardless of the current situation, Thompson is holding on to hope. "I know that its going to happen," he said of his teaching career. Capps says that is the best thing future educators can do right now. "Be patient, this has happened before. Its never happened at this level, but it will reset itself," he said.