Will the Teacher Shortage Grow?

By: Ann Nucatola
By: Ann Nucatola

Students at Leon High School have a deep respect for one particular English teacher, Lorrie O'Dell.

"She's just the best English teacher you can have. She cares about her students, she wants you to pass with good grades. She just really cares about her students," says senior Steven Barner.

O'Dell is a third year English teacher at Leon High School, and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

She says, "I truly love what I do."

Despite her love of teaching, O'Dell admits financially, it can get a little rough.

"College loans, rent, car payments, it's very hard to do."

Now there's a new report from a public interest group that says the nationwide teacher deficit is only going to get worse because of the low pay, and most new college graduates have real world bills that can't be put off.

"It's very tough for teachers to make it these days. They live from month to month, so you have a lot them choosing other professions," says Leon High School Principal Rocky Hanna.

So while she may live paycheck to paycheck, O'Dell says she will continue to teach.

"If I didn't like this so much I would have to do something else. But I can't. I love it, this is what I love to do."

In Florida, the average starting salary for teachers is in the low 30,000. In Georgia it's about $35,000.


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