Lawmakers look to bring back Teaching Fellows Program

VANCEBORO, N.C. – (WNCT) A new bill in the North Carolina House aims to re-create the Teaching Fellows Program.

The state had a previous version of this program but did away with it in 2011.

The new program targets future educators interested in teaching STEM and special education related courses.

The proposed bill would cover up to $8,000 in students loans per year.

Recipients who are in the program would be expected to work in the state for two years per year of aid.

Shelby Smith is a East Carolina University graduate and a product of the previous Teaching Fellows Program.

Smith said, “It was amazing. I loved the experience.”

When you talk to Mrs. Smith you can instantly tell this program was more than about just saving money.

“I don’t think I would have been nearly as successful my first year, or my third year without the program,” said Smith.

She said this provides more incentive for students to become teachers.

“Just to know, because I’m going to be teaching anyway in North Carolina, that I can earn that tuition back by just doing what I love was just absolutely amazing,” said Smith.

The proposed bill would allow 160 perspective teachers into the program at a time.

Smith said, “It’s not enough. I mean it’s not enough at all”

She admitted that any progress helps.

She said, “I mean I think any little bit counts obviously, but I think you should make it as big as you can.”

For Smith the solution is simple.

“We need to be thinking about our future, our kids coming up and we need to provide them with the best education which means providing them with the best teachers,” said Smith.

Smith said this is a good start to bringing back a program with the power to help so many.

 

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