SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Abby Konold is a first year teacher at Prairie Seeds Academy in Brooklyn Park.
She says she loves teaching third grade, but it's certainly keeping her busy.
“It's definitely a challenge every single day. There's a lot more work than I thought it was going to be,” Konold says.
Those challenges aren’t being ignored at this year's MEA Conference at the St. Paul RiverCentre.
“We know that teachers are working under very challenging circumstances. It's not easy to work in a school,” says Education Minnesota President Denise Specht.
Specht says the conference is putting a special emphasis on training and attracting new teachers.
“Minnesota is facing a teacher shortage,” Specht says. “We're seeing that all over the country, actually.”
Specht says many college graduates are headed into the workforce with a lot of debt and teaching salaries are often too low to pay them off.
“We're also seeing people leave the profession way too early because they lack mentoring. There aren't enough school support resources for teachers to do their job,” says Specht.
To help new teachers feel supported, they held a workshop Thursday morning called "Practical Guidance for New Educators".
They’re also hosting a job fair to help get them in the classroom.
“We want to make sure they have the tools they need to do the job. It's a very important job,” says Specht.
And a job that Abby says she sees herself doing for a long time and watching her students grow up.
“Having sixth graders and seventh graders coming back and saying ‘Hi’ would be a really fun thing to experience and see,” Konold says.
The MEA Conference runs through Thursday.