HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A group of high school students spent the morning at Quinnipiac University. They are learning all about becoming teachers at a time when the state desperately needs more educators. Some of these students have known they wanted to be teachers for a while.

“When I heard a teacher talk about how much they loved helping students,” said New Britain High School Senior Kailana Herbert. “Being in the education pathway really helped me make my final decision because I realized how much I love working with kids and teaching them new things.”

This symposium at Quinnipiac University is all about educating them about becoming educators. It is a profession that has lost a lot of people recently.

“To say that the last two years have been difficult would be an understatement,” Quinnipiac University Associate Provost Khalilah Brown-Dean told the students. “You all have navigated a pandemic that has literally upended every aspect of your lives.”

The Increasing Education Diversity Symposium is not just about getting more teachers in classrooms but getting diverse teachers in classrooms. Teachers and students will tell you it’s important that teachers look like their students.

“It’s really easy for students to connect with teachers who do look like them,” said New Britain High School Senior Kailana Herbert. “I’m not saying it’s difficult for teachers who do not look like them, but it really does make it easier.”

“You’re not just stigmatized to a certain profession or a certain pathway, that there are many ways that you can have an influence on the world,” said Stamford High School Teacher Daniel Lauture.

He runs a club in his school called Ed Rising. There are a bunch of those clubs and state programs in high schools to encourage a diverse group of students like this to become teachers.