Students question education major after teacher layoffs - WNEM TV 5

Students question education major after teacher layoffs

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Saginaw teachers are now taking a 9 percent pay cut.

Other districts like Bridgeport have taken an even more extreme approach by laying off teachers in the recent months.

"It was distressing because that could be me in a couple of years," said Madeline LeFere, education student at Saginaw Valley State University.

She wants to teach physics someday, although she admits she has concerns.

"What am I going to be making? Is this going to continue? Will I be able to make a living doing what I want to be doing," she said.

LeFere isn't shying away from her career path. Even though at times it may seem a little uncertain.

"This is ultimately what I want to be doing. And I'm not going to be happy doing anything else. And if I change I'll regret it for the rest of my life," LeFere said.

Meanwhile, educators are aware of the problems that teachers are facing nowadays. But they want their students to know that the field that they are hoping to get into someday is a labor of love.

"Teaching, well of course teachers need to live. Teaching is not about the money. Teaching is about service," said Mary Harmon, dean of the college of education at SVSU.

She said SVSU's nationally recognized program has it's students ready to teach, advising them to pursue employment in high need areas like math, physics, chemistry and early education.

Harmon said there is one part of the state that is a good place to find work.

"Areas in Detroit. Areas around Dearborn in particular," she said.

That's because many people who live in those areas use English as a second language, Harmon said.

The dean said students qualified to teach English will have opportunities there. The job search is still two years away for LeFere, but she said for better or worse, she's committed to teaching.

"It is what it is right now. And that's what seems to be happening. And it's what I want to do and if that's just the way it's going to be for right now then you just have to accept it and do the best that you can do to be the best teacher that you can be, no matter what the circumstances," she said.

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