This is a headline I would love to see! As we have learned in earlier classes this semester, CTE has come a long way but I feel could use even more updating. As we all now know as new CTE teachers, the job is challenging but can be rewarding as well when we see the success of our students. The problem is that we are overwhelmed so quickly when we start that we burn out on average after three to five years. This just does not serve the education system well in my opinion. These numbers clearly point out that we have a real problem! I hear my fellow NTI teachers all saying the same thing. Basically we are “thrown to the wolves”: here is your classroom and here is your list of students” and then you are on your own.
I feel that some of the Perkins money should be set aside to focus on the new teachers. We certainly are hired for our expertise out in the field. Most of us however do not come with the experience of actual teaching in the high school classroom but have the energy, enthusiasm and desire to share this knowledge with these students. Why not use Perkins money to first of all pay for the certification classes for a new teacher? This is often a standard practice in the business world and would be an incentive for new CTE teachers to help supplement the notoriously low wages that teachers can expect. Why not use Perkins money to provide at least a part-time teaching assistant to help out especially in the skills labs as that plays a major role in the curriculum requirements? Having that extra help to just take care of the large number of students that have to be trained and tested on a mostly 1:1 basis would ensure skills are learned more efficiently and accurately. More skills could even be taught with the extra help. Why not use some of the Perkins funds to provide a mentor for a new teacher? Paying a seasoned and successful teacher to mentor the new teacher would certainly be an incentive for both parties. One is rewarded for sharing his/her experience and one is rewarded with the support of knowing they had someone to go to with questions and concerns. Our school tried to do a mentoring program last year but there was no follow-through. I think part of the problem was that CTE mentors were not matched up with new CTE teachers but just teachers in general. Mentors need to be in the same field as the new CTE teacher to be effective.
So, I again say I would love to see the headline that Perkins Legislation is being repurposed to recruit and retain teachers. It could be done cost-effectively and would pay off in big ways down the road if that CTE teacher lasted past the predicted three to five year period. It is more costly not to do this as recruiting and recruiting and recruiting adds up! When a CTE teacher is lost out of the system, the students then get a substitute teacher that usually has no experience either teaching or even teaching that subject. The bottom line to this is that the students are the ones to suffer “the cost” from having to have one permanent substitute teacher after another. Isn’t this one thing that the Perkins Legislation is supposed to prevent or should prevent?