Catalyst Community: Teaching

The word “community” is defined as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular interest in common. Catalyst Midland has launched a series titled “Catalyst Community” focusing on different communities — sometimes geographic, sometimes a common interest. 

In this week’s Catalyst, we focus on the important role teachers have in our lives.

Our teacher is Erica Sprague, a science teacher at the junior/senior high school in Beaverton. She will soon start her 20th year in education. Erica is a teacher both inside and outside the classroom. She also has a presence on social media (Facebook) to share home economics ideas. 


This year in the United States there are 300,000 teaching vacancies in its public schools, according to an article published by in January 2023, and there are only 100,000 new teachers projected to be available to teach in 2024. This is a looming issue. Although it varies from state to state and by subject area, it is a nationwide crisis. There are a variety of reasons for the shortage and this article could become doom and gloom very quickly, so I want to focus on the positive aspect of teaching. Despite its hardships, we still need good teachers! There are plenty of people out there who are called to teach and need help and encouragement to answer that call.

Every single job out there comes with its ups and down, but teaching is a unique job in many ways. Talk to anyone in education and you’ll get a laundry list of why teaching is hard and how we need to change the system to recruit and retain new teachers. This is all very true, but what is not often talked about is how we talk about the profession and how we build up confidence in those who are called to be educators. 

Erica Sprague teachers science at Beaverton Junior/Senior High School.
Yes, there are folks who have a true calling to be a teacher, just like doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, welders and mechanics. With all the difficulties in the schools, it’s no wonder there is a fear of entering the field of education. It takes years of college and training. But with any risk, there can be great reward. We need to recruit our seasoned teachers who still love the profession and put them in front of new potential teachers and give them a clear and realistic view of the job, but with a focus on the great return!

We need to stop worrying about all the things we need to fix in education for just a minute and think about how we can get our young people to answer the call to teach. How will they ever consider it if they hear only the negative statistics? Let’s focus on some of the most positive aspects of a teaching career, according to an article in We Are Teachers:
  1. Teachers can reach over 3,000 students in a career. 
  2. Teaching is still one of the top 5 most prestigious careers. You know the saying, teaching is the profession that creates all professions!
  3. Kids need teachers. More than ever, students need that one trusted adult. Fewer and fewer kids have that at home. You can be an important role model and literally save someone’s life.
  4. 88% of people say a teacher changed their life. Enough said.
  5. More than ¾ of students see their teachers as role models and believe they have changed the course of their life. Teachers are people students know they can look up to.
What an awesome job teaching can be! When your work has an impact on more than yourself and when you reach others, your job has the potential to take on a whole new level of meaning. There are certain people called to a life of service for others and for the good of society. Our children, our communities and our country need teachers. If you or someone you know is considering a career in teaching, encourage them. There is nothing more satisfying in life to be in a job you love and touches so many lives in a meaningful way. 

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