Alabama State Department of Education launches new campaign to combat teacher shortage

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:54 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) has launched a new campaign, ‘Teachers are the Real Influencers’, to help combat the ongoing statewide teacher shortage.

ALSDE spokesperson Dr. Michael Sibley says the goal is to target and engage ‘Gen Z’ with the campaign.

“A lot of young people want to be influencers, want to have a lot of followers, and what better a profession than teaching to have a huge influence on large groups of people,” Sibley said. “You want a lot of followers? Be a teacher, you’ll get a lot of followers doing that.”

The campaign will include several different advertisements across popular social media platforms, showing that being an influencer does not have to be an online job. Sibley said the hope is to recruit, hire and retain young educators in the state.

Huntsville City Schools board member Andrea Alvarez said this campaign is needed as her district is no stranger to the ongoing shortage.

“About ten years ago, we had such a waitlist for people who wanted to apply for our positions, and now we’re in the negative. We can not get enough teachers,” Alvarez said.

Sibley said many educators left the business during the pandemic to retire or find better-paying jobs. He hopes with announcements like Governor Kay Ivey’s proposal to increase teachers’ starting salary, ‘Gen Z’ will consider a career that impacts all other aspects of the workforce.

“Being a teacher is a real-life influencer and you influence hundreds and hundreds of people for years,” Sibley said. “Without our educators, we don’t have any of the other amazing professions.”

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