Students get hands on education experience early to learn about the profession

Local universities look to prepare the next generation of educators.
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 3:42 AM MDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2023 at 7:13 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Teacher shortages are increasing, as fewer students are entering the occupation for a variety of reasons. One local university is making sure incoming students understand the challenges, in hopes to keep students in the profession longer.

A nationwide survey conducted in 2022 by the National Education Association found that 55% of educators say they are more likely to leave or retire from the profession sooner rather than later. Joseph Graves, secretary of education for South Dakota, says it could be due to a lack of teacher preparation.

“I do think that there is room for a greater teacher prep and a greater training in teacher prep programs at the university level. Also in school districts in helping give teachers more strategies, and more coaching and mentoring in how to exercise those strategies,” said Graves.

Black Hills State University has procedures in place to make sure anyone wanting to enter the profession, knows it’s the right job for them.

“Our plan of study for education majors requires that they get out into a k12 classroom very early in their time at Black Hills State University. We have an early practicum class that allows them to get out and spend some time in a k12 classroom and decide ‘Is this really for me? Is this what I want to do?’ We found that really successful,” said Faye LaDuke-Pelster, chair of the School of Education at BHSU.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, BHSU overall has a graduation rate of 42%, but according to LaDuke-Pelster, the school of education has about a 99% graduation rate.

“We continue to produce really competent and well-prepared teachers in education and also in special education and elementary education as well,” continued LaDuke-Pelster.