First year teacher shares excitement despite shortages

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We’re teaching the future… without teachers, there is no future.

Christiana Wittenmyer

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In West Vigo High School Choir Director Christiana Wittenmyer’s classroom, the school day revolves around music.

Wittenmyer, a first year teacher from Terre Haute, loves her career. But, growing up in the Vigo County School District, she knows not everyone is singing the same tune when it comes to teaching.

“I’ve had my fair share of people saying, giving their two cents of oh there’s no money in that, or why are you doing that, you’re so much smarter than that, you can do so much better,” said Wittenmyer.

Wittenmyer’s journey to teaching:

Vigo County School Corporation is fighting teacher shortages, just like much of the state. There are currently 25 long-term substitute teachers in Vigo County schools. In the 2018-2019 school year, there were 42 openings.

School officials point to pay as a big factor in the shortage issue.

“Teacher pay comes from state funding, and state funding has not kept up with the pace of inflation, if you read reports, Indiana’s very low in teacher pay. We’re trying to combat that, that’s obviously what’s causing a teacher shortage,” said Bill Riley, VCSC Director of Communications.

The proposed Vigo County School referendum includes $3 million allocated for teacher compensation. But officials say finding great teachers goes beyond pay. They say passion plays a huge role as well; something Wittenmyer has.

I just have to keep reminding myself that what I’m doing is important.

Christiana Wittenmyer

“We’re always on the lookout for teachers who get the value of a great teacher, and she experienced that at Terre Haute South in the music program, and she’s very excited to be here at West Vigo,” said Riley.

Wittenmyer’s thoughts on the importance of music education:

Not only is Wittenmyer excited, but she’s determined to have students leaving her classroom on a high note.

“I just have to keep reminding myself that what I’m doing is important, and especially in the specialty of music, because I feel like we are fighting for our place in education, and that makes me even more excited about it,” said Wittenmyer.

Under Wittenmyer, the WVHS choir has returned after a five-year hiatus.

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