SIU Carbondale’s School of Education tackles learning loss and a teacher shortage

The School of Education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is focused on addressing a statewide teacher shortage crisis and regional students’ pandemic-related learning loss.


Faculty members are preparing students and community members to work as tutors for area students in grades 3 through 8. This work is supported by grant funding from the Illinois Governor’s Office as well as support from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and an alliance with Illinois State University and other Illinois public universities and community colleges. Paid tutors work a few hours each week tutoring students in reading and math during after-school hours — helping them to catch up and stay at grade level achievement.

Teacher shortage

Every child deserves a well-prepared, highly qualified teacher in the classroom. The Illinois State Board of Education reports more than 2,100 current teacher vacancies affecting nearly every Illinois public school district. All of our teacher candidates are finding employment in schools throughout Southern Illinois and around the state — in some cases, before they graduate!

People are also reading…

Educator Rising clubs

The more challenging task is to recruit young people into the teaching profession. To attract high school students to teaching, SIU’s School of Education has rolled out several initiatives. For example, we are collaborating with several area high schools to support Educator Rising clubs for students interested in teaching careers. Through these clubs, high school students can assess their strengths and learn about the teaching profession, student characteristics at different grade levels, classroom management practices, school organization and community support.

Teacher residency program

We are also creating novel opportunities for preparation and development as our teacher candidates acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for teaching. An ISBE grant is funding a full-time teacher residency program quite similar to a medical residency. Guided by both a teacher mentor and a community mentor, teacher residents will teach in a school for a full academic year and receive financial compensation up to $15,000. We are partnering with school districts in Cairo, Carbondale, Meridian and Murphysboro in initiating the residency program. Some of these residents will complete their college degree in three rather than four years — launching our students into the teaching profession and saving them time and money.

The faculty and staff of the School of Education remain excited about strengthening the important partnerships we have with school districts throughout Southern Illinois. Remaining true to our historical roots as a state teachers college, we continue the important work of preparing the next generation of teachers and providing professional growth opportunities for teachers and school administrators.

Meera Komarraju is provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button