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21-year-old student lands a classroom of his own because of Arizona's teacher shortage

On the March 9 episode of The Show, we heard from a teacher in Arizona who is feeling what 90% of them report today: burnout.

Now, the National Education Association reports more than half of its members say they’re planning on leaving the profession earlier than planned because of the pandemic.

But there are also those who are not burned out at all. In fact, Austin Butler couldn’t be more excited about entering the teaching profession, even at a time when education is fraught with everything from battles over low pay and staff shortages to masking in classrooms.

Butler is a 21-year-old senior at Arizona State University who was wrapping up his student teaching last fall at a Title 1 school in Mesa, when he was told he could continue on. And that found him, still a student himself, with a fifth-grade classroom of his own.

The Show spoke with him to learn about his experience, and he said he’s wanted to be a teacher since he was little and relishes the chance to shape the next generation.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.