Philadelphia High School Seniors Macy Goldman, left, along with Jada White discuss teaching as a career pathway with Dr.  David Rock, Dean of Education and Professor of Teacher Education, University of Mississippi.
Philadelphia High School Seniors Macy Goldman, left, along with Jada White discuss teaching as a career pathway with Dr. David Rock, Dean of Education and Professor of Teacher Education, University of Mississippi.
Philadelphia  High School seniors Macy Goldman and Jada White recently attended the Mississippi Superintendents’ Collaborative along with Philadelphia Public School District Superintendent Lisa Hull. Each school district represented in the collaborative chose two students to attend the meeting. David Rock, Dean of Education and Professor of Teacher Education, University of Mississippi, along with representatives from other universities were in attendance.  

The day was devoted to listening to the students as they shared their views on the state of public education and their thoughts on why high school students were or were not selecting education as a career.

“The teacher shortage in Mississippi continues to increase and have an impact on every school district in the state in some way,” said Hull.

“A focus of the Mississippi Superintendents’ Collaborative is to explore ways to address the teacher shortage and to identify how to increase the quality of teachers in Mississippi.”

The conversation among the students covered a broad range of topics including what they thought should be the primary reason people should select teaching as a profession, teacher salaries in Mississippi, how their own teachers influenced their decisions about being a teacher, and how they felt teaching compared to other professions.

Participant Macy Goldman noted that many factors affect a student’s choice of education as a career.   

However, she said, “A passion for teaching is the number one reason students choose the educational field.”  

Jada White, another participant, agrees, stating, “If a high school student does not truly have a desire to teach, he or she does not need to enter the profession.”

As for the collaborative, both girls agree that the day was a learning experience.  White was surprised to learn that salary is not a motivating force for many who choose education.  

“At the end of the day, I realized that most of the students who want to be teachers are more interested in the self-fulfillment provided by the career, not the pay.”

Goldman said that networking with other students from across the state brought her to the realization that current teachers have an impact on recruiting students to the educational field.  

“Several participants agreed that teachers should verbally encourage high school students to consider studying education in college.”

“The day was insightful. The students who were interested pursuing teaching as a career were very passionate about working with children,” said Hull.

Of particular concern to the superintendents and representatives of the Institutes of Higher Learning was whether the students would choose to stay in Mississippi.

Hull summed up the day with, “It was a group of very bright students with great ideals.”