Gathering aims to engage future Columbia County educators

Here’s how the hands-on experience is making a difference.
Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The pandemic changed the classroom for millions of students.

One of the worst impacts was teacher burnout, forcing thousands to leave the classroom. Columbia County is teaming up with Augusta University to get students interested in teaching early on.

Here’s how the hands-on experience is making a difference.

A national teacher shortage has made it a struggle to find those wanting to come into the profession. Columbia County students are excited to get into this field.

Energetic students in teaching pathways in Columbia County learned their next steps to becoming a teacher.

Jamison Perkins is an Evans High School senior. She said, “I’m excited. So I have my own kids, and that builds relationships with students.”

Wesley Williams is a Harlem High school junior. He said, “It’s just fun. Like, you just get to be around new people all the time, and you get to inspire that’s one thing that I got to see today. You just get to help other people.”

Perkins and Williams are both a part of the teaching as a profession pathway or TAP.

They are two of 400 students across the county involved. They get to see what it takes to be a teacher before they get to college. Perkins already gets to help out in the classroom.

“Being in the classroom with her, how much she loves her students, as well as what she’s doing. And that’s really inspirational, and it makes me want to do what she’s doing,” she said.

Williams wants to make an impact on every student he may teach.

“So you got to care about your students because like I said, some of them might not have a mom and dad at home. They might not have somebody inspiring them telling them that they are made an image of God and they are loved. Like you need people like that you have to be passionate about your job and truly care for your kids,” he said.

All students are energized and ready to hit the ground running at a time when there’s a national teaching shortage. They heard from Augusta University and past Columbia County teachers of the year to help inspire students to a career in education.

“I wouldn’t say it’s solidified but it’s, I feel like by the end of this I’ll be wanting to be a teacher,” said Perkins.

Each high school in the county will give away a $1,000 scholarship to a senior in the program in the middle of May.