With the state facing a looming teacher shortage, it's estimated it will need more than 100,000 teachers over the next five years. Some would make up for retirements. The rest of the gap may be due to the fact that fewer people are interested in teaching.
The first summit designed to address these concerns was held in Syracuse Tuesday.
It's not your typical classroom. But it's where these teachers are learning how to attract and retain more teachers.
"We are holding our first take a look at teaching summit to address the teaching shortage that's looming in New York state," said NYSUT Exective Vice President Jolene DiBrango.
"It's about the passion that a teacher has. It's about the will and tenacity of being a teacher. This whole process is not about any adult," one teacher said.
Hosted by New York State United Teachers, the summit featured teachers, students and lawmakers.
The union anticipates that the state will need 180,000 new teachers within the next five years due to retirement and fewer people becoming teachers.
Organizers say tough evaluations and other factors led to the decline.
"And we feel many people left the profession before they were ready to because of it," DiBrango said.
To understand the obstacles facing potential teachers, the summit fostered a dialogue between teachers of varying experiences.
Some say the state requirements and fees make becoming a teacher unfeasible for some.
"When it comes to the certification, just do the work, do the test and get the certification, you will see a lot of people running away from the idea of teaching. Another thing also, being a teacher is a belief. You believe that you are there for your kids. You are there to support. That's one of the things that keeps you always enthusiastic and encouraged," said Fowler High School teacher Abduliah Alubi.
Union representatives say they hope to work with state lawmakers to find policy solutions in the future.