Tuscaloosa City Schools begin paying teacher interns

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 5:29 PM CST
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s no secret there’s a teacher shortage in Alabama schools, but the Tuscaloosa city school district is testing a pilot program to see if it helps fill the gap. City school superintendent Dr. Mike Daria says a few other states are doing this and that is paying their teacher interns to help shore up the teacher shortage. It starts in January of next year.

Brianna Blair is only a month away from graduating from the University of Alabama and will begin in January teaching on a full-time basis, earning more than 40-thousand dollars a year. Because Blair’s internship as a sixth grade is close to ending, she won’t be part of the pilot program that begins in January.

But Blair applauds the idea of paying interns and thinks it could go a long way in filling in the teacher shortage.

“It’s an opportunity I would have love to have and I think it will get some good future educators in position,” said Blair.

“We are having a teacher crisis,” superintendent Dr. Mike Daria acknowledged.

Tuscaloosa City Public School Superintendent Dr. Mike Daria says the school board just this week unanimously approved paying teacher interns starting in January.

“To supplement them while they’re doing their residency with the idea they remain with Tuscaloosa city schools full time thereafter,” said Dr. Daria.

The pilot program is the direct result of what’s been happening over the last 5 years, according to superintendent Daria.

“We have seen a decline in the last 5 years Alabama alone has seen a 50 percent decrease of individuals going into the college of education. That’s just not good enough. We need more teachers,” he said.

So starting in January, the city school district will pay teacher interns 12-hundred dollars a month and then earn a teacher’s starting salary after their internships end.

“Right now, they’re getting nothing per month, right so $1,200 is a lot more than were getting now,” said Dr. Daria.

Brianna Blair says she is realizing a childhood dream of becoming a teacher. She hopes the paid interns coming behind her will feel the same.

Dr. Daria says they’ll pay 10 interns who will fill the 10 teacher vacancies in math, science and special education.

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