Tuscaloosa City Schools Begin Paying Trainee Teachers

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) – It’s no secret that there is a teacher shortage in Alabama schools, but the Tuscaloosa City School District is testing a pilot program to see if it helps fill the void. The city’s school superintendent, Dr. Mike Daria, said a few other states are doing this and paying their trainee teachers to help fill the teacher shortage. It starts in January next year.

Brianna Blair is just a month away from graduating from the University of Alabama and will start teaching full-time in January, earning more than $40,000 a year. Because Blair’s sixth-grade internship is about to end, she won’t be part of the pilot program that begins in January.

But Blair applauds the idea of ​​paying interns and thinks it could go a long way to addressing the teacher shortage.

“It’s an opportunity I would love to have and I think it will position some good future educators,” Blair said.

“We have a teacher crisis,” acknowledged superintendent Dr. Mike Daria.

Tuscaloosa City Public School Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria said the school board this week unanimously approved payment for trainee teachers beginning in January.

“To supplement them while they do their residency with the idea of ​​them staying with Tuscaloosa City Schools full-time thereafter,” Dr. Daria said.

The pilot program is a direct result of what has happened over the past 5 years, according to Superintendent Daria.

“We have seen a decline over the past 5 years, Alabama alone has seen a 50% decrease in the number of individuals entering college of education. It’s just not good enough. We need more teachers,” he said.

So, starting in January, the city’s school district will pay trainee teachers $12 hundred a month and then earn a teacher’s starting salary after their internship ends.

“Right now they’re not getting anything per month, so $1,200 is a lot more than what they were getting now,” Dr. Daria said.

Brianna Blair says she is fulfilling a childhood dream by becoming a teacher. She hopes the paid interns who follow her will feel the same way.

Dr. Daria says they will pay 10 interns who will fill the 10 vacancies of math, science and special education teachers.

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