Teacher shortages are a worry throughout New York and the state’s teachers union is doing something about it.

New York State Teachers United recently launched the ‘Take a Look at Teaching’ campaign.    

They believe there’s a few key factors leading to the shortages. Among them, they cite declining enrollment in teacher education programs and an aging demographic with 1/3rd of their members set to retire within the next five years.

“We don’t have enough teachers in many areas,” said Andrew Jordan who’s on the Board of Directors with New York State United Teachers.

West Irondequoit is just one of the many school districts across the state that have dealt with a lack of teachers.

“We certainly face teacher shortages. I think everyone is facing it,” said Tim Terranova, Deputy Superintendent for the West Irondequoit Central School District.

They’re looking for an additional 40-50 substitutes but their issue is just a small part of a much larger problem.

New York State United Teachers will focus their new campaign on adding more teachers. It’s aimed at younger students interested in the profession, helping them navigate their way to becoming an educator.

“We need to help students maneuver that system so that they know exactly what they need to have accomplished and by what deadlines so they can enter the profession in a timely basis,” said Jordan.

West Irondequoit Schools have a similar program in place. It’s in its infancy with eight students taking part.

They’re being exposed to what it’s like leading a classroom.

“We’re all in this together so the more we can get our kids as they move through adolescence, getting experiences working in the teaching field, working with kids whether it’s after school or summer programs and getting a feel of the benefits of working with younger students, younger children, the better,” said Terranova.

The teachers union will also place a special focus on increasing racial and ethnic diversity within the teaching field.

Here’s a link dedicated to the initiative that includes a list of steps to becoming a teacher and community resources.