CHARLOTTE, NC — More teachers leaving teaching doesn’t deter a first-grade teacher from pursuing their passion.
Dillon Lay will teach grade seven science at Ranson Middle School in Charlotte.
What do you want to know
- First-time teacher Dillon Lay begins teaching career this year
- Lay enters the field of education as more teachers leave school
- A 2022 statewide survey found more teachers don’t plan to return to class this fall
“Science is fun, science is weird. It has so many components,” Lay said.
Lay, a native of Kentucky, is fulfilling his dream of becoming a teacher through Teach for America.
“It’s something I’ve been waiting for for a very long time,” Lay said.
During his undergraduate career and his master’s program at the University of Kentucky, he participated in a youth smoking prevention services program called “I can End the Trend”.
“I mostly went to schools, interacting with students,” Lay said.
This experience sparked his interest in becoming a teacher.
Now, Lay is entering education as more and more teachers are leaving the field.
According to findings from the 2022 North Carolina Teacher Conditions Survey released earlier this summer, of 107,380 teachers who responded to the survey, 7.2% do not plan to return to class this year. This is compared to 3.9% in 2020.
Lay did not participate in this survey, but he commented on the results.
“It doesn’t surprise me based on some stats here,” Lay said.
Among teachers who remain in the profession, 78% indicated that they would stay in their current school. The majority of them cited school management, the weather during the workday, and managing student behavior as the main reasons for wanting to stay.
As Lay begins his journey as a teacher, he said school leadership and community support and involvement are important to him.
“The community at school: the support from the staff, the support from the teachers, and I can tell you right now, I’m feeling it already,” Lay said.
As with anything new, Lay said he was nervous but up for the challenge. One of its main goals is to help students in their third year in the pandemic.
“We are committed to tackling this issue head-on, whether it’s catching up with students academically, socially and emotionally, by creating a learning environment in which these students truly succeed,” said Lay. .
He expects to stay in the class for a long time.
“I feel like home. I feel like that’s where I’m meant to be,” Lay said.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say they have more than 1,000 substitute teachers to deal with the teacher shortage.