Loudoun County, Va., one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation, is developing its own corps of teachers through an initiative it started eight years ago called the Teacher Cadet program. According to the Washington Post, Loudoun created the program in order to recruit and train a new generation of Loudoun natives who could fill some of the several hundred teaching positions that open up in the jurisdiction each year. Currently, there are about 200 students participating in the program, a jump from the 34 students who participated the first year. Students in the program get first-hand teaching experience when they are sent into classrooms full of younger students.
One product of the Teacher Cadet program is 23-year-old teacher Betsy Anfindsen, who said that her stint as a student-teacher during her high school days attracted her to the teaching field and gave her a professional edge when she applied for a position in Loudoun. "Getting that classroom experience at such a young age really gives you an idea of what the profession is all about, what it means to be a teacher day to day," said Anfindsen.
About 20 graduates from the Teacher Cadet program have returned to Loudoun to teach since the inception of the program.
A similar initiative is taking place statewide as well. The Post acknowledged that the Teachers for Tomorrow Program, which is run by Virginia's Department of Education, also aims to attract high school students to the teaching profession.