BLUEFIELD, WV (WVNS)– Some classrooms are still empty as teachers leave the profession.

But Bluefield State University is hoping to combat the vacancies in its teacher education department.

Dr. Terene Stiltner, the Director of Teacher Education at the University said there are two factors as to why teachers stop teaching.

“One of the primary reasons is compensation. I think teachers feel like they’re not being adequately compensated for the profession that we’re in. I think another big reason are the stressors of COVID. We know our students have fallen behind in their academics and we know teachers had a lot to handle during that time so that became a big stressor for them,” Dr. Stiltner said.

Dr. Stiltner said the key to getting more educators in schools is to grow interest from the younger generation. Joshua Punturi is a student who is looking to study teacher education.

He said he thinks you should be a teacher because it’s something you love to do.

“Coming back home and being in the environment that I feel like needs me and these other students to make a difference because this generation is the one that can make a change and I really think that students have the ability to make the difference just as much as teachers and adults do,” Punturi said.

Dr. Stiltner said it’s time to look at ways to help out educators.

“I just think it’s vitally important that we have well-trained teachers in our classrooms and in order to do that I would like to see more compensation for teachers and I’d like to see more people interested in the teaching profession,” Dr. Stiltner said.