Fighting for Paid Student Teaching

The teacher shortage is affect­ing the whole of education and declines in teacher prep programs are a nationwide emergency. Financial investments in future educators could be the difference in turning the tide against recruitment and retention issues within the profession, especially for teacher candidates of color.

MSEA believes that one way to improve teacher recruitment is to pay aspiring educators for their internships. Too many aspiring educators are suffering from the expenses demanded by our internship—an essentially unpaid full-time job requiring gas for traveling to the placement school, a professional wardrobe, classroom materials, costly mandated exams, and the fee required for a mentor teacher.

It’s clear that we need support now. That’s why we’re fighting for changes to teacher training programs that will make the teaching profession attractive, accessible, and sustainable.

We believe there is a better way to bring new teachers into the profession. We must provide aspiring educators a pathway to the classroom that respects their choice and leads to their success.

Hear from Aspiring Educators in MSEA’s December 2022 ActionLine.

This pathway includes:

Scholarships and free tuition that supports aspiring educators. The Teaching Fellows for Maryland Scholarship exists but the scholarship requirements are too narrow. We’re calling for better scholarships and tuition supports that are more accessible, eliminate non-teaching aptitude pre-requisites, and expand eligible expenses.

Waivers for hidden fees that too often sabotage aspiring educators and their budgets. These are mandated components of EPPs and certifications, but unique to teacher preparation. Students must pay for standardized assessments, mentor fees, lesson planning software, and more. LIST MORE IF POSS

A say in where they are placed for student teaching which considers transportation, housing, and the grade levels and types of schools they hope to teach in.

Transportation supports so that no teacher-candidate is unable to meet the requirements of student teaching because getting there is a hardship. These supports can be bus cards, campus buses, or stipends.

Paid field experiences that recognize what it costs to work the full-time unpaid internship at the cost of a paying part- or full-time job that often pays the student’s expenses and tuition. Maryland’s teacher prep programs require this full-time unpaid internship, and it is unique to education majors. Adding to the financial burden is the Blueprint’s unfunded expansion of internship requirement to the equivalent of an entire school year. This is not funded in current programs and conflicts with the goals of increasing diversity among the teaching force, addressing the shortage, and recruiting competitively with other professions. To meet Maryland’s needs, student interns should be paid commensurate with their training like any job where on-the-job apprenticeships or internships are required for the good of the profession and the quality of services they provide.