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University of Maine at Presque Isle education program helping with substitute and special education teacher shortage

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 6:54 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -COVID 19 has affected schools in various ways, including a shortage of substitute and special education teachers. Megan Cole spoke with the director of education at the university of Maine at Presque Isle to see how their program is helping with that.

COVID-19 has affected schools around the county in many ways including a shortage of substitute teachers.

" In our communications with our Pk 12 is a real demand for substitute teachers and most of those reasons it sounds like have to do with COVID 19 and some of the situations you know maybe needing temporary assistance in a school or long term assistance within a school. I think in terms of special education there’s always been a demand for special education teachers I think in particular that’s a field that could really you know definitely see more teachers going into that particular concentration.”

Alana Margeson, director of the education program at UMPI says that the education program is doing what it can to fill those needs.

“so we work with those schools to see if our students field experience opportunities that are existing in their courses already could be blended with meeting a need in a local school or school district. So for example if in an education course students are required to complete 20 hours of field experience is there a way that students can complete that field experience and meet those learning outcomes while also meeting a critical need in a school or in a local district.”

She adds that they’ve had an increase in schools reaching out to them to see if students can help. Some of the students responding are even getting job opportunities.

“We are having more student teachers you know who have had job opportunities lined up or who have been approached while they’re student teaching and so we are really excited that our students are able to forge those relationships build that rapport with a local school district and at the same time potentially also get hired before they leave student teaching. "

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