Delegate Kerr says it could better prepare young people interested in a teaching career.
Frederick, Md (KM) Young people interested in teaching as a career would gain classroom experience while earning their college degrees under a bill being drafted by Frederick County Delegate Ken Kerr (D-3B). He says his legislation would set up a teacher apprenticeship program where schools could “hire kids right out of high school who want to be teachers as full time instructional aides,” he says. “Pay them a full time wage, with benefits, as full time employees for 35 hours a week.”
Kerr says during 20-hours of that time, the teaching apprentices would be working the classroom, with 15-hours being devoted to college courses and earning a degree with a teaching certificate.
These young people would experience the full gamut of what goes on in the classroom, working with “difficult to educate kids; gifted and talented kids ; behavioral problems kids; special ed kids; mainstream kids; general population kids; experience the entire spectrum of the teaching profession,” says Kerr.
In the end, this teaching apprenticeship program could benefit the school system. :”At the end of that degree, the apprentice teacher, whose now a certified teacher, would agree to stay with Frederick County Public Schools for a minimum of five years,” says Kerr. And when the young person graduates and receives their teaching certificate, they will have five years experience in the classroom due to the apprenticeship program.
Kerr says too many teachers just starting out end up leaving the profession because it was not what they expected. “Teaching is such a hard job. You don’t know what you’re getting into,” he says. “And they get into the job, and prepare for it for four years. And they find out they’re just unprepared. They’re overwhelmed and they leave the profession.”
“We lose 50% of them within the first five years,” says Kerr. “Nine-percent of teachers don’t finish their first year. And we lose a quarter of them after two years.”
He hopes this teacher apprenticeship program will keep more new teachers in the profession.
The 2020 Maryland General Assembly convenes on Wednesday, January 8th.
By Kevin McManus