Information provided by the Louisiana Department of Education
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Department of Education launched a statewide campaign to elevate the teaching profession and recruit the next generation of educators. The "Be a Teacher LA" campaign, which was announced during a special event attended by elected officials, educators and advocates, seeks to increase the number of high school graduates and college students who enroll in an undergraduate teacher preparation program and ultimately lead Louisiana classrooms.
"The work of a classroom teacher is dynamic and challenging and provides the opportunity to lead and shape students' futures," said State Superintendent John White. "We want Louisiana's brightest and most committed students to pursue a career in teaching, and we hope this campaign helps a higher number of those students hear that calling."
The Department began its efforts to promote and strengthen the teaching profession in 2014 with the launch of the nationally recognized Believe and Prepare teacher preparation program, which offers aspiring teachers a competency-based curriculum and a full year of practice under the tutelage of an expert mentor. The "Be a Teacher LA" campaign builds on that work by spotlighting the benefits of a career in education and by recruiting educators who can fulfill school systems' workforce needs.
The campaign, developed in partnership with New Orleans-based professional marketing firm Zehnder Communications, targets high school juniors and seniors, as well as college freshmen and sophomores, who are in the prime stages of their future career selection. It also aims to reach those who influence high school and college students, like parents and counselors, who often help guide students' career decisions.
Prior to designing the campaign, the Department conducted research with current teachers and high school and college students to better understand the perceptions of the teaching profession and the motivating factors of why people choose their career pathway. In a survey of more than 500 Louisiana high school and college students, the Department found:
- 13 percent of respondents are currently considering teaching as a potential profession;
- students' career decisions are most influenced by parents and family members; and
- students rely primarily on the internet and social media for information on careers.
In addition, market research characterizes the target audience as pragmatic, independent and drawn to career fields that are less likely to be automated. This group is also selective in how they spend their time.
These findings informed the campaign's strategy, which utilizes social media and digital video to quickly grab this group's attention, while appealing to their desire to choose a career that will not be replaced by technology. A key component of the campaign, for example, is a suite of video vignettes starring "U-Learn 2000," a robotic teacher that struggles to lead its classes as effectively as its human colleagues. The documentary-style videos, which emphasize the tagline "Be Irreplaceable. Be a Teacher," were filmed at Benjamin Franklin High School and Samuel J. Green Charter School in New Orleans and feature the schools' students and teachers.
The campaign also employs more traditional outreach methods, such as television, radio and print advertising and public relations activities involving advocates like Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and First Lady Donna Edwards.
"The greatest investment we could ever make as a society is in our most precious resource: students," said 2017-2018 Louisiana Teacher of the Year Kimberly Eckert, an English teacher at Brusly High School in West Baton Rouge Parish. "We should always keep looking to attract the most talented professionals to educate them."
The Department encourages participation in the campaign by sharing inspirational stories and messages on social media about teachers using the hashtag #BeATeacherLA.