TechTeach program helping address rural teacher shortages across

TechTeach program helping address rural teacher shortages across West Texas

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

A program at Texas Tech is aiming to help fill the shortage of teachers in rural school districts across West Texas.

It is called TechTeach, where students are selected by different school districts to be a teacher-in-learning for one year before transitioning into a full-time role the next year.

Matching student-teacher candidates to different schools, Slaton ISD Assistant Superintendent Jim Andrus said the program is a win-win for everyone involved. 

"It's a great way of melding educators with communities they don't even know exist. We get the opportunity to show off who we are, and they get an opportunity to show us who they are and most of the time it makes a great marriage," Andrus said.

The program has only been up and running for a couple years, but he said it is already paying dividends for the school.

"It's like hiring a second-year teacher because they get a great student-teaching experience, they live the life of a teacher all year long," Andrus said.

Sydnee Harrison is a student-teacher at Slaton through TechTeach.

She said her experience at a rural school makes her feel like she has found her home.

"It's like a family here. You're a person and they care about you outside and inside of school. They really just want to help you be better in any way that they can," Harrison said.

Celenne Gomez is also student teaching at Slaton through the program.

Originally from Houston, she said she has learned so much working at a school like this. 

"You don't just fall in love with the campus, but you fall in love with the kids, and that's really what I had to deal with and I asked my husband and he supported me, and it's like the TechTeach program guided me to this," Gomez said.

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