MITCHELL, S.D (KELO) Several industries are still trying to recover from the pandemic — including education. A lot of schools are still dealing with a shortage of teachers.

Dakota Wesleyan University is working to provide a solution.

More than 200 students from high schools across the state gathered at Sherman Hall for the 2023 Educators Rising Fall Learning Expo.

“I’ve got to meet a lot of really cool people from all around the state. And I think that’s awesome that so many people are looking at being an educator,” said Sascha Usselman, Senior Central High School.

Students could attend 14 different sessions covering an array of topics and teaching styles for K-12 education.

“We actually went into the elementary school. And we got to go into a class and read to them and it was as fun there’s a an app we learned how to use when we read that kind of incorporates the book with music and makes the students more interested draws their attention,” said Alexis Ketterling, senior Central High School.

With South Dakota’s teacher shortage, Professor Melissa Weber says events like this that can get students excited and informed about pursing education.

“The teacher shortage is across the board. It used to be that there would be certain fields like math or science that we needed teachers in, but I feel like that’s changed over the years, and there’s actually a shortage in, you know, elementary, middle school, high school in different content areas,” said Melissa Weber, Associate Professor.

Many of the students say they understand important role educators play —

“It really matters. And like the generations that we’re going to be impacting are going to be bigger than just us today,” Ketterling said.

“If I get one person to pay attention, or one person that like pulls me aside and say hey, I really learned a lot today or Hey, today made a difference in my life then if that happens just once in my entire career, it’s worth it,” said Elyssa Bartelt, senior Parkston High School.

The expo featured keynote speakers Matt Yost and Gabe Dannenbring.