There are less than two weeks left of summer break for many kids in Central Georgia.
While parents and students scramble to fill their summer with memories, school administrators in two counties are trying to fill their classrooms with teachers. They both are feeling the effects of a nationwide teacher shortage.
Dominique Lacey is getting ready to teach science for the first time this school year at Northeast High school in Bibb County.
“I’m nervous, like, 'Are they going to like me? What am I going to say?'” Lacey said. “I hope I can relate to them, and I hope they can relate to me.”
She’s one of about 250 new teachers going through orientation in Bibb County.
The school district still has 42 positions to fill, while Houston County still needs 23 teachers.
“The teacher shortage is a national epidemic and what the issue is is that people are just not going into the profession as much as they have in past decades,” Bibb Schools Human Resources specialist Melanique Floyd said. “It’s just become very competitive.”
Floyd says they are looking to hire elementary teachers as well as high school teachers for various subjects throughout the district.
She says they have to offer a competitive salary and extra support to get teachers and keep them in Bibb. Floyd says if they don't fill the empty positions by the first day of classes, they'll hire long-term substitutes.
“While principals are actively seeking to fill those positions, most of those long-term subs are certified teachers who may have retired or previously taught,” Floyd said. “They fill those positions until we get a permanent teacher.”
She says whether your child has a long-term sub or a permanent teacher, they will be ready to teach.
“No matter what, our children are going to be educated, on track, and on target for achievement,” Floyd said.
Teachers like Lacey are eager to get started.
“I’m just going to go in there with a big smile, open arms, and be welcoming to let them know that I care,” Lacey said.
Bibb County starts school August 1st, while Houston County starts August 2nd.