Creating Opportunity with the Aspiring Teacher Permit

Meet Taylor Drew, a first-year teacher at Fox Meadow Elementary. Each day, she challenges and encourages 20 active first graders. Arkansas LEARNS seeks to attract and retain teachers. And due to the Aspiring Teacher Permit, Taylor now has a rewarding career, and she's shaping the future.

Drew: "I think it was the end of July. One of my professors reached out, and she was like, 'Hey, if anyone has passed all of their licensure requirement tests, your foundations, your Praxis, give me an email, and if you'd like, you might be interested in a job.' And I was like, 'Me? Of course.' I was like, 'Yes, please.' I was like, 'Sign me up.' And so I emailed her, and she's like, 'Okay, we'll be in touch'. And then as soon as, like, August 2nd hits, I think. Dr. Lacey Baker from Central Office gave me a call, and she's like, 'Hey, Taylor, it's Dr. Lacey Baker from Nettleton School District. Would you like to have a job this semester?' I was like, 'Of course.' I was like, 'I would love that. That would be awesome.'"

The Aspiring Teacher Permit is an opportunity for districts to fill vacant teaching positions. Districts apply for the permit, and interns apply for positions with the district.

Drew: "Financially, it's been great because instead of having to pay to intern, I've been able to get the chance to go ahead and start getting paid for actually teaching. And that's helped my life a lot. I know I'm getting married soon, and so that's helped us. We went ahead to go be able to buy a house already, and it's just been great."

Cara Sims, principal of Fox Meadow, recently said, 'I believe the aspiring teacher opportunity is such a win for our school and district and for those individuals who get to participate. They can dive right into the roles and responsibilities of a teacher while still earning their degree. They're able to collaborate with and learn from teachers who have experience in the classroom. Ms. Drew is reflective in her teaching journey and wants to see her students succeed, and she has what it takes to flourish in the field of education.'

Drew: "Reading and writing is just such a big life skill, like, you have to know how to do that. So, being able to help them in something so impactful that's going to follow them for the rest of their lives and help them maybe fix it and get better at it sooner so that they don't have to maybe struggle later and that we can fix it now. Oh, it's been so great and rewarding. Also, just I feel like they're my best friends. I feel like I've gained 20 new best friends. I call them that every day. I call them my little besties. They're like, 'We're your best friends??' I'm like, 'Of course you are!' I feel like, I don't know. I just, like I said, I feel like I've gotten 20 new best friends getting those relationships with those kids. It's just been, it's meant the world to me. And I've really loved being able to go ahead and do that."

To learn more, visit the Aspiring Teacher Permit webpage under the Office of Educator Effectiveness & Licensure.