TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA)-- Kindergarten teacher Stephanie Brown has a love for teaching that’s evident within minutes of a conversation.
“When I got hired the principal said, can you teach a child how to read? And I said I can teach anybody how to read- so I just like teaching,” said Brown.
She’s been teaching in the Tupelo Public School District for 10 years now and like many public school teachers, Brown was excited about the recent state-wide pay raise, but says, pay wasn’t a leading motivator in her pursuing a career in education.
“I’m not doing it just for the pay. Most teachers don’t do it for the pay. Most of us do it because we love children and we love working with children and we just want to see them succeed in life,” said Brown.
Tupelo High School History teacher Morgan Ricks, agrees.
"Maybe more people will be attracted to teaching since we have a little bit more of a competitive salary with other professions, but I’m not sure that it’s actually going to influence that many more people who don’t already have what it takes," said Ricks.
District administrators say applications this summer compared to last summer, have been equal in number- indicating to them the pay raises over the next 2 school years will not play a role in the number of qualified teachers applying.
“We are pretty fortunate that we always have an abundant of applicants for each job that we have vacant," said Director of Human Resources Jim Turner.
Turner says, that abundance is due to a number of contributing factors including, community partnerships.
“For example, we partnered with the North Mississippi Medical center's wellness center. We now offer our staff membership, free of charge to increase their health and wellbeing to become employees of the district," said Turner.
Other school districts in the area, like Lee County Schools, reports an equal amount of applicants when compared to last summer, while Baldwyn school district has more openings this summer for an increase in applicants.
This is the first pay raise for the states public school teachers since 2007.