Among the challenges for schools as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on is a shortage of teachers. But with a new round of funding, Teach for America hopes to help fill that gap.
Corps member Kayla Diallo may not have always imagined herself in the classroom. But now that she's there, she couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
"This is kind of my way of paying it forward and pouring back into children the way I feel like the adults in my life poured into me,” said Diallo.
That doesn't mean she didn't have concerns about starting her career as a 2nd-grade teacher in the Dallas ISD amid an ongoing pandemic.
"I was definitely scared. I was very nervous,” said Diallo.
After all, as she began, others were on their way out.
A recent survey by the National Education Association found that a third of respondents plan to leave education sooner than originally thought. That’s led to a teacher shortage Executive Director Kim Anderson told NBC 5 is a national problem.
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"This is a crisis. If you don't have enough teachers to teach the students, we're never going to experience the kind of success as an economy and a vibrant society and experience the success students deserve,” said Anderson.
Teach for America hopes to be part of the solution thanks to recruits like Diallo and a new round of funding from the One Star Foundation. That gift of $650,000 will help the nonprofit train and place 650 new teachers in low-income communities around the state.
"In a moment where there are lots of talk of people retiring, or people leaving the profession altogether because of the challenges associated with teaching and leading in a pandemic, what we do at Teach for America is we continue to find folks who are willing to take this work up, who are willing to learn new schools, who are willing to do what parents and students need to ultimately receive the best possible education,” said Vice President of Texas Public Affairs Robert Carreon.
It's a commitment that serves 20,000 students in Dallas and Fort Worth.
So while Teach for American can’t solve the crisis alone, they can guarantee more educators are on the way.
Teach for America also relies on individual donations and is participating in North Texas Giving Day, which ends Thursday at midnight.