For MTSU senior Jaylan Ashley, her inspiration for becoming a special education teacher came from volunteering with her aunt.
“My aunt is a speech pathologist, and I volunteered with her in high school with kids who had special needs,” said Ashley, a native of Nashville, Tennessee. “I met a little boy with Down syndrome who I spent all summer with. Then when it was over, I found myself missing him and our interaction with each other.”
More than 140 graduating student teachers joined Ashley, who is certified to teach grades K-12, during the 2018 Spring Teacher Recruitment Fair, where they learned about open teaching positions across Tennessee.
The May 2 fair, held in the Student Union Ballroom, hosted over 40 school systems and organizations to share teaching opportunities in their districts. Sponsored by MTSU’s College of Education, the event gave employers an opportunity to speak with the soon-to-be MTSU graduates seeking jobs right after the May 4 and 5 commencement ceremonies.
Added Ashley: “This fair is a good opportunity with all the schools who came out, and special education is such a high needs area. So it’s great to see all the schools who came out for us.”
Dean Lana Seivers of MTSU’s College of Education encourages such fairs so students can establish a face-to-face relationship with hiring employers.
“In this day and age of employers getting a lot of online applications, if they remember who they met and receive a good impression, then that’s going to come to the forefront,” Seivers said.
Roderick White, director of Diversity and Community Life at University School of Nashville, attended the fair seeking talented future teachers and even those desiring leadership positions within the education profession.
“We’re looking for a director for service learning, a high school math teacher and a new theater director … we’re just asking that our teachers have a passion in these fields,” White said. “Teachers teach kids, and it doesn’t matter where they are because kids need role models.”
Knoxville, Tennessee, native Lacie Ford has always had her heart set on becoming an educator for children in kindergarten through third grade.
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and make a difference in a child’s life,” Ford said.
The fair also featured a drawing in which selected student teachers will be reimbursed $50 at the end of the school year for out-of-pocket costs toward school supplies and classroom needs.
“A lot of school systems are on a tight budget and teachers do end up coming out-of-pocket for a ton of our supplies, so just knowing I have that $50 in my pocket for the little things is super exciting,” Ashley said.
Although her name was not pulled in the drawing, Ford was impressed with MTSU’s willingness to help new teachers in such a way.
“This is a big deal that they’re giving back to us to help start up our classrooms, so I’m really appreciative of them,” Ford said.
For more information about how to register for next year’s Teacher Recruitment Fair, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/career/.
For more information about MTSU’s College of Education, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/education/.
— Jayla Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)