A new study highlights the teacher shortage in Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

A new study highlights the teacher shortage in Illinois

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WSIL-- A new study found the shortage has become particularly difficult in central and southern Illinois. For several people in the community it's becoming alarming. 

Jessica Wright is the Children Librarian at Anne West Lindsey District Library.

She says her role keeps her very busy. Her love for teaching and guiding came at an early age.

"I have always loved children, I've always loved books and illustration and art and stories," said Wright. 

Wright credits her high school art teacher with motivating her.

"She was just wonderful she was able to get kids who weren't sure about what they wanted to do with their lives she was able to inspire them," said Wright.

A growing teacher shortage in our region could mean area kids don't get the same experience.

Superintendent of West Frankfort schools, Matt Donkin says the shortage is a growing issue.

"You can see signs and were saying uh-oh and that accelerated," said Donkin.

 He adds, full time teachers aren't the only areas they're lacking in. 

"We don't also have enough teachers aids and you'll look and the principles will call 5-10-15 and not be able to get anybody," said Donkin.

New research shows Donkin isn't the only one experiencing the problem more than 90% of Southern Illinois districts can't find enough qualified teachers.

He says teacher pay, pension problems, and the requirements to become a teacher all create challenges.

"Instead of retiring at 55 now you're looking at retiring at 67 and for students who are 20-21-22 is that how many years they want to put in the field or what if they want to do something else," said Donkin.

 Wright hopes more can be done to bring more educators to southern Illinois.

"Our children need teachers in their lives so not having this makes it more difficult on their education," said Wright.

The study also found teacher shortages have been worse in certain subjects like; foreign language, media specialists, and instructors for blind or deaf students.

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