BURLEY — A new Burley High School club allows students step into their teachers’ shoes.
“We are looking for ways to help with the teacher shortage,” Vice Principal Andrew Wray said. “We really have to grow our own.”
Wray became aware of the national organization Future Educators Association through Idaho State University, which pays students to come to the college for one day a year to check out teaching as a profession.
Over the past three years, the school has hired 25 teachers and 10 of them were BHS graduates.
“Eight of the 10 didn’t go into teaching as their first profession,” Wray said.
The ISU program has grown from 18 students the first year to about 90 students now participating. This year they expect to have 500 come for the field day, Wray said.
BHS implemented the new club this year with a goal of 30 students.
“At the first meeting 66 kids showed up,” Wray said.
The group meets once a month.
“These are kids that want to go into teaching and the club helps them get excited and work towards that goal,” said Debbie Critchfield, spokeswoman for the district.
On Oct. 20 the club members were bused to John Evans Elementary for a field experience in teaching, where they read and interacted with the younger students.
“The kids ate it up,” Wray said. “Afterwards I had multiple kids come up to me and say I know what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Wray hopes to expand the students teaching opportunities at the middle school and junior high level this year.
Burley senior Shaelee Palmer did her senior project teaching second graders at Dworshak Elementary School about kinetic motion.
She also went to the Evans Elementary to teach in October.
“I’m not 100 percent sure yet that I want to be a teacher at this point,” Palmer said. “But it’s one of my options.”
Palmer said the club is “super organized” and other teachers at the school have spoken during meetings to share their stories of how they decided to become teachers.
“Some of them had other careers and then came back here as teachers,” she said.
The club has new members joining all the time as students hear about it. Along with helping some students to consider a teaching career, it also helps other actually try it out and see if it is really what they want to do for a living, he said.
“We want them to decide one way or another,” Wray said. “It’s not a silver bullet but if we can get a couple of teachers to come back here, it would be a success.”