MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Launched at the start of the year, Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen began a school tour through the state.
The focus of the tour is starting the conversation with high school students about the teaching profession and encouraging them to become tomorrow's educators.
The initiative is called "Teach Today, Change Tomorrow."
It was a different kind of day learning for students at Middle College High School on Thursday.
"This is easiest, the funniest job I've ever had," one math teacher said. "I mean I enjoy coming to work. I love working with the kids. I know if I am having fun, they are having fun, they are learning things."
Students were handpicked by staff to learn why their teachers became educators. It was a chance to explore a career in education.
"I like to see that 'ah-ha' moment when they get to be exposed to the experiments," one Raleigh-Egypt science teacher said. "I mean it's just absolutely amazing."
"We don't talk enough about the profession itself as teachers," McQueen said. 'We don't think that that maybe we should encourage our students to do this."
In small group discussions, teachers from across the district shared with students their path to becoming an educator.
Many said teaching fulfilled a calling and launched a second career.
"One thing I know is that when you have a purpose and a calling it will follow you, and you have to answer to it," one science teacher said.
Others shared the positive impact educators have in their communities and in shaping the next generation.
It's a conversation that sparked an interest in this career path for many students, a path many never considered.
While the state doesn't have a teacher shortage, there is a need for teachers in specialty areas that include English, special needs and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) instruction.