A Central Kansas college president believes we need to change the conversation if we want young people to go into teaching.

“At the end of the day, we want our teachers to be really good at teaching,” said McPherson College president Michael Schneider. “What we’re trying to do is create some solutions and instead of fighting about all of this, let’s get busy making some solutions that will solve some of these challenges and get kids excited about being teachers.”

The rate of pay for teachers is a challenge, but getting more education as they enter the field can help with that.

“We’ve added a M.Ed program that students can go right from their undergraduate bachelor’s degree program right into their M.Ed and in four years have their bachelor’s and master’s degree,” said Schneider. “We’ve also added a new program called our student debt project, where teachers can come in and we can put them through this program and graduate with a bachelor’s, a master’s and no debt.”

Boosting morale is vital to getting young teachers into schools.

“Get them excited about it,” said Schneider. “We’ve started this program called EdChat, where we bring students from high schools across the state to campus for a day-long, intensive time, just about
some of the exciting things that are going on in education. Just because you read headlines that can be somewhat negative about what it’s like to be a teacher. There are a lot of amazing things going on in education in Kansas.”

Schneider knows it isn’t a situation that can be solved overnight, but if the narrative doesn’t change, filling teaching positions will become more difficult as the Baby Boomers continue to retire.