When 18-year-old Kendall Cooper tells his classmates he aspires to become a teacher, they sigh.
When Cooper adds he wants to teach history, they sigh even more.
Their reactions haven't discouraged the North Side High School senior, who is taking a step toward his desired career through the school's cadet teacher program.
Although new to North Side, the course's concept isn't new to Fort Wayne Community Schools and other Allen County districts. Some students, including those at Leo Junior-Senior High School, can even enroll in dual-credit programs for those interested in becoming teachers.
Educators said these and other programs can help prepare the next generation of teachers.
The state of teaching and lack of quality candidates is a concern educators share, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick found during a statewide tour this fall.
“There's not much relief coming in the pipeline, so as a department we are committed to trying to free up some of those opportunities, to allow people to transition into the field, also to gain interest in the field,” she said in an audio clip online.