By Sean Ibara
MANOA (KHNL) - As the number of teachers that are hired in our public schools decreases, the continuing need for qualified teachers, is always on the increase.
So the University of Hawaii's College of Education program is trying to boost its appeal to potential educators.
Now, education majors can now get a jump start on their dream job.
Diandra Michael is nearing the tail end of her college career at the University of Hawaii. And out of the hundreds of majors to choose from, she chose education.
Since my freshmen year in high school I knew that I wanted to be a teacher; I knew that it wasn't a well paying job, said Michael.
But unlike many, her journey towards becoming a teacher, started even before she got into college.
Michael says in high school she was involved in the teacher cadet program which gave her experience in lesson planning and classroom experience.
The program allows juniors and seniors in high school to explore a career in education, through a program called "Get FIT", which stands for "Get a Future in Teaching". And from there, they've already jump-started the road to graduation.
Michael says, "going through the teacher cadet program really, like really placed my dreams of being a teacher into cement."
Anna Kaneshiro is also majoring in education, and a product of the cadet program.
"It gave me the experience to know beforehand in college what profession I really wanted to do, so i wasn't wasting any money", said Kaneshiro.
Faculty members say one of the things they are trying to accomplish, is to get prospective students thinking early about an education degree.
Margit Watts is the program director of the Get FIT program. She says, "quite often the students who put on their application to UH that they're interested in becoming a teacher, but it takes them several years to actually get into the college."
And so far, the results have been a success.
"We've actually been really excited to more than triple our enrollment", said Katherine Fulford, an Educational Technology Professor.
And while Diandra and Anna may be a little fearful of what may lie ahead, they have this message for anyone thinking about a career in teaching:
"We need to help our future, we need to support them, give them the opportunities".
"A lot of the kids that we are going to be teaching will be leaders of tomorrow and that is something that I have believed from the beginning".