Missouri S&T to prepare middle school teachers to fill teacher shortages

 Sarah Potter
On June 5, 2020

Photo Tom Wagner/Missouri S&T: James Trusler, a 2016 Missouri S&T history graduate, with his seventh-grade social studies class at Rolla Junior High School.

ROLLA, Mo. – Missouri S&T will offer teacher certification in middle school math, science, English language arts and social studies this fall after earning approval for the subjects this spring. 

“There’s a growing need for middle school teachers,” says Dr. Beth Kania-Gosche, Missouri S&T’s chair of teacher education and certification. 

Data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) show that middle school math, science and language arts rank in the top 10 shortage areas in the state, according to the agency’s 2020-21 Teacher Shortage Report. There are more than 100 vacancies in each subject for certified teachers in the state. 

Kania-Gosche points out that rural communities in Missouri often face challenges with filling teacher openings in science, technology, engineer and math (STEM) courses. She says some school districts around Rolla have STEM teacher openings and no applicants. S&T helps fill a critical need for rural districts in south central region of the state. 

“Our students in educator certification are often from rural areas,” Kania-Gosche says. “Lots of them want to go back to the area where they grew up and serve their community.” 

Missouri S&T’s focus on science and technology research areas prepares students to teach STEM subjects, according to Kania-Gosche. 

“We have amazing researchers on our campus so our students know their content,” Kania-Gosche says. “It’s unbelievable to me when I watch their demonstration lessons. I’m always learning something, and I don’t think they get that depth of content anywhere else.” 

S&T’s educator certification program serves about 115 students pursuing teacher certification and some students are already ready to switch to teaching middle school subjects. That smaller program size also allows faculty to know students personally, says Kania-Gosche. 

The middle school math, science, language arts and social studies programs are all 120 to 122 hours, which should allow students to complete their degree in four years. Graduates will earn a bachelor of arts degree in multidisciplinary studies. Learn more about teacher education and certification at teachereducation.mst.edu/.

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