Enrollment in teaching programs climbs despite larger downward trend

Courtesy of Chico State

Teachers in California are in high demand, and while most other college programs for future instructors are seeing a decline in numbers, Chico State is seeing an uptick.

The university is seeing higher rates of students in teacher training programs, and it seems to be because of the quality of the liberal studies program, said Kelsey Barger, a Chico State student currently working on getting her teaching credential.

“Many school districts have said that Chico state produces some of the best teachers,” she said. “I think teachers are attracted to Chico because of its great program. I’ve had truly amazing professors.”

Other colleges in the California State University system are seeing lower rates of teachers in training, said Nancy Thompson, director of liberal studies at Cal State East Bay.

“Our program suffered a definite decline in numbers during the recession when reports of teachers getting pink-slipped were constantly in the news,” Thompson said. “Our numbers are rising again, but slowly. We’re a long way from where we were 10 years ago.”

The challenges of obtaining a credential and the difficulties teachers face in the field can be a deterrent, said Julie Polk, a Chico State student who is soon heading into her first year in the teaching credential program.

“I think becoming a teacher is on the decline because of the amount of effort the career demands of people,” Polk said. “There is a lot of work involved in student teaching.”

High-quality teachers are needed in schools right now and it is a prime time to take advantage of the opportunity, Thompson said.

“Elementary schools in particular and teachers with expertise in math and science are in high demand,” Thompson said. “The only thing I might add is that my colleagues in the teacher ed program are getting frequent calls from schools looking for potential teachers. It’s a good time to go into the profession. It’s a rewarding career and there are lots of jobs out there.”

Michael McClurg can be reached at [email protected] or @MichaelMcClurg on Twitter.