The teacher shortage in the state of Illinois is a problem that simply refuses to go away. In 2017, the Illinois State Board of Education reported that there were over 2,000 unfilled positions in districts across the state (ISBE, 2021). As of 2020, that number had more than doubled to 4,462. This increasing teacher shortage has underscored the need for high-quality teacher education programs within higher educational institutions.
Every semester, our Secondary Educator Licensure Teacher Candidates enter their clinical experience committed to sharing their passion of lifetime learning and scholarship through service to students in the secondary schools. These clinical experiences are essential to their training as secondary educators. However, gaining access to transportation can be very difficult for teacher candidates. Our crowdfunding project is grounded in the belief that NIU students who choose to fulfill their purpose by becoming teachers have many challenges to navigate already, and transportation should not be one of them.
Because of this, we have created the CLAS – Secondary Educator Licensure Transportation Equity Fund. This fund exists to provide our teacher candidates with emergency funding when they encounter a situation where they cannot get to their clinical experience due to transportation barriers. Your gift to our project may very well make the difference in allowing a teacher candidate to successfully complete their clinical experience.
Gifts received will immediately go to work in providing access to transportation to teacher candidates in need.
“From the time I took this position in 2018, we have always had students who have trouble getting transportation to their clinical experiences. Time has proven that this is an ongoing issue. There are students who cannot complete the program because they simply cannot get to clinical spaces. There may be students who do not apply to the program because they lack access to transportation. This is not acceptable, and we are committed to finding solutions." - Dr. Rachel Warren, Director of Teacher Preparation and Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Thanks to your generosity, the NIU - College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Transportation Equity Fund has been able to provide over $3,000 to students in need of funds to travel to their clinical experience sites. This fund IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE in the lives of students, as is evidenced by the letters they send in thanking our donors:
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you. Thank you so much for your gift. As a teacher candidate and a college student. I am constantly worried about how I will pay for transportation to my clinical experience. These funds will be a big help in allowing me to do so. I am very excited that I will be able to observe teachers interacting with students, just some of the experience that I need to be able to learn from the teachers. I know that this experience will help me be the best teacher I can be when I get into my own classroom in the near future.
Nancy, NIU Spanish Teacher Candidate
Thank you very much for your gift and continued support of NIU teacher candidates. Obtaining and paying for transportation to my clinical experiences as a teacher candidate is a significant concern for me. I was placed at Rochelle High School in the fall of 2022. The students I worked with were studying To Kill a Mockingbird, which is one of my favorite novels. I enjoyed being able to help them dig deeper into the text, its messages, and its meanings. The clinical observations provide experiences that I will draw upon in the future when I manage my own classroom. The continued support of donors to the CLAS Secondary Educator Licensure Transportation Equity Fund made this experience possible for me, and for that I am very grateful.
Doria, NIU English Teacher Candidate
Thank you so much for the generous gift. As a student teacher I have placed all my time and focus to prepare inside the classroom. So, I am unable to work to for any additional funds I would need in this semester. Most of my funds have gone to gas for transportation due to the state of our economic situation. Because of this, I was preparing to set aside time to work a part time job for additional funds. However, because of your support I will be able to complete my student teaching semester without working a part time job. This will help tremendously for my mental health that will do wonders for my students inside the classroom.
Edgar, NIU Math Teacher Candidate
I would like to take this time to thank you for your donation. As a teacher candidate, it is
extremely stressful to find ways to pay for my transportation to my clinical experience. Thanks to
your generosity, I will be able to go to my clinical and get my teacher's license. I will have the
opportunity to help and interact with the learners and the teachers. The clinical will help me to
be the best teacher I can be in my future classroom.
Thank you for making this journey less stressful and more enjoyable!
I appreciate your help tremendously!
Hortencia, NIU Spanish Teacher Candidate
Thank you so much for your generous gift. These last couple of weeks have been very unprecedented since my husband and I had to transition to one car, not to mention inflation reflected on gas prices. These funds will be able to help me cover some expenses in order to get to my clinical where I can assist some high school students to acquire new language knowledge and grammar rules. My clinical observations are an experience to help me become a better teacher. I cannot express how much this means to me, and I appreciate your consideration.
Nancy Arndt, World Language Teacher Candidate