JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - School districts across the nation are facing a teacher shortage as many of the most experienced instructors are aging into retirement.
The National Education Association reports 40 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years of their career.
So now the University of North Florida's Continuing Education Division has created the Teaching Point program to help keep teachers in the classroom.
It is an all-online program designed to give teachers access to resources and support that could make teaching another subject a lot easier.
Teaching Point was created to help teachers who have taught one subject like biology for years, but now must teach something like physics. This can create problems because teachers are then required to teach themselves the subject matter.
According to the president of Teaching Point, Doug Mathews, this is a problem many teachers have.
"One out four teachers every year have at least one subject out of field," said Matthews.
The president of UNF's Continuing Education, Tim Giles, said there are not enough teachers prepared to teach whatever the school needs.
"In Duval County, across the state, and across the nation, there's not enough highly qualified teachers to meet the mandates that have been handed down by the federal government," said Giles.
The Teaching Point program gives teachers instructional support materials like a curriculum and lesson plans written by expert teachers.
"[The program] helps also meet the mandates that teachers [must] be highly qualified in whatever content area they're teaching," said Giles. "Along with the course materials and pacing guides, they also get access to an e-mentor."
The online mentors are the actual authors of the support material, and have been teaching the subject for years.
Program officials hope if teachers feel more prepared to teach any subject, they will stay in the profession longer.
This important because it costs a lot of money to train a teacher.
"It costs about $30,000, national average to replace a teacher, even more if you have to remediate students who have been taught by a lesser qualified teacher," said Giles.
Interested teachers can sign up for program on the UNF Continuing Education's website.
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