Do you want to be a teacher? Some students return to FCPS to teach


by Kaelyn Diaz, Reporter

From age 5 to 18, students have spent 22,540 hours with 61 different teachers. 

The older we get, the more we come to understand how hard being a teacher really is, but still some students want to become teachers. Why?

What is so attractive about choosing to deal with 30+ kids at once (in high school and middle school) three class periods a day, five days (and nights for grading) a week. Who would want to do this often thankless job?

For some, they want to impact the lives of children and teens.  For others, they simply just love teaching someone else how to do something. There is no right or wrong answer to why someone becomes a teacher, but as the world has changed so drastically in such a short time, students who want to pursue teaching are decreasing, causing teacher shortages all over the country. 

What is causing the teacher shortage?

The teacher shortage has no obvious cause, certain variables over time overwhelmed individuals. Some of these variables are pay. It is no secret that teachers, especially new teachers, do not get paid very much. Being underpaid while being overworked can cause anybody to feel overwhelmed, and choose to step away. The increase of violence in schools has also played a part. A more recent cause is returning to school. 

An EducationWeek article stated that at the end of 2021, “1 in 5 teachers said they were unlikely to return to in-person instruction in the fall, and the same percentage said they were more likely to quit at the end of last school year than they were before the pandemic.”

In a survey conducted by the National Education Association(NEA), they found that “nearly one in four teachers reported they may leave their jobs by the end of the 2021-22 school year.”

The Frederick News Post released an article stating that,” as of Tuesday, Feb. 15, the system was short 43 special education instructional assistants and 15 special education teachers.”

A Glassdoor graph showed that early career  Montgomery County teachers make around $67,468 while Frederick County teachers make around $57,000 a year.

Who wants to be a teacher?

In a Lancer Media survey, students were polled about their interest in becoming teachers. Students of each grade level participated in the survey. Only 35% of the students said they would want to become teachers. Those students said that they wanted to become teachers because they wanted to work with students. About one quarter of the respondees said they would want to teach post high school, and 42.9% of the future teachers said they would want to teach pre-k. About 30+ said said they would teach elementary school. However, all students who said they wanted to become a teacher stated they were most worried about the pay rate and not being able to make enough money.

On the other end of the spectrum, 65% of students stated that they do not want to become teachers. Three quarters of those students selected bad pay as their reasoning for avoiding teaching.  Fourty six percent of those students said they would rather become doctors, nurses, or veterinarians instead of  teachers. 

Frederick County Teacher Academy

The Teacher Academy of Maryland instructor Sally Hughley said, “In general, I have not noticed a significant drop or change in the class size at all. In fact, the number of students shadowing the program and enrolling has remained fairly consistent overall–and that is both a positive and negative. There remains a critical shortage of teachers in our county and our country, and we must continue to make changes and improvements to the educational system itself – fix what is broken and celebrate what is working – so we can continue to put the best qualified teachers in our classrooms.”

Madison Davies, Linganore Grad 2016, now special education teacher

Although some teachers have decided to end their careers, and some teachers have decided to change career paths, a few young teachers are explaining why they choose to push on. Special Education teacher Madison Davies graduated from Linganore in 2016. She had never thought about being a teacher until this summer when an opportunity arose. “I actually never thought I wanted to teach until this summer when I had an opportunity brought to me. I love working with kids and building relationships, and that is what teaching is,” said Davies. 

She explained that the pandemic has not affected her feelings about her career. She enjoys a challenge and knows that with any career, there will be problems and challenges that have to be faced. 

Zack Yurich, Linganore Grad 2016, now social studies teacher

History teacher Zackary Yurich also graduated from Linganore in 2016. His story is a bit different. “I wanted to become a teacher because I had always loved working with kids. That with my interest in all types of history led me to the decision of becoming a teacher,” said Yurich

“Teaching during the pandemic was very difficult for many teachers I have talked to, and I know that many teachers left because of it. As for violence in schools, it’s a very scary thing that is prominent in our society. I can definitely see that being a reason some find teaching to be undesirable now, but to me, the positives far outweigh the negatives,” said Yurich.

Thoughts from a future teacher

I have been exposed to teaching and working in a school since first grade. I have spent almost every summer in a school, but not as a student. Since first grade, my dream was to become a teacher, and through the years, that dream has stuck. For a very long time I wanted to become a high school teacher, but the increase in disciplinary needs at schools has changed my opinion on high school teaching.

My plan is to teach special education on the elementary level. I have seen how much the shortage has impacted schools, as I known many teachers outside of my own, and much of my family works for schools. Even though recent events have caused a bit of a decline in students becoming teachers, I find this to be even more of a reason to become one. I can help teachers and staff when they need it most, which only makes me feel like this is the right choice. I know I will face many challenges being a teacher, especially special education, but teaching children skills they need for life is the greatest reward, and could never change my mind.

For those interested in pursuing education, the state of Maryland offers a scholarship which covers all expenses in exchange for two years of service. For more information, visit your guidance counselor, CTC, or do research on your own time.