|Aspiring teachers to have a hard time getting jobs|
|Written by Amanda DiSilvestro, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 18 November 2009 23:38|
Teachers are starting to feel the pressure as jobs become even scarcer than before. While many used to assume that they could substitute teach until finding a permanent teaching job, they can now only hope for that outcome.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that schools have shed about 125,000 jobs, and many teachers are delaying retirement because of the recession.
“We still very much need teachers, but what is happening is a result of the economy.
“First, schools are lacking funding to hire the teachers they need. Second, teachers who might have retired now find that they need to continue working,” Diane R. Dean, assistant professor of higher education administration and policy, said.
While many students were told the baby boomers would be retiring, Dean explained that this is no longer the case. This leaves students confused and nervous about their future for the next few years.
“I had an extremely difficult time getting a job right out of college. I graduated last year and began college when teachers were supposedly in demand, and I can tell you all of my friends are in the same position.
“I am now working at a hard to staff school, but feel fortunate to even have a job,” ISU Alumna Ali Smith, secondary English education teacher, said.
For the middle level education majors, Doug Hatch, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, explains that he is not concerned, and students do not need to worry.
“In our program this is not an issue. We are the only university in the state that offers a middle level education program to employers like that,” Hatch said.
“Over 98 percent of our students get a job within their first year.”
Hatch continued to explain that there is occasionally a student who wants to teach 15 minutes away from their house, and that is where difficulty arises.
“If a student is serious about getting a job they will get one in this program; trust me,” Hatch added.
Dean agrees with Hatch in saying, “I think there will continue to be a place for excellent teachers, and Illinois State is known for its excellent teacher education programs. That will give our students an edge in these tough economic times.”
Researchers are saying that although all teaching positions seem to be decreasing, elementary education majors are struggling more than the rest.
“The University had 1,500 elementary education majors but has now reduced that number to 1,100. We also encourage these majors to think about special education, where there is a demand,” Hatch said.
“For those who have flexibility, additional certifications in high need areas, such as special education, would certainly help,” Dean continued.
With the economy at an all time low, it is easy for students to feel there is nothing that can be done until it picks up again. However, there are a few tips that ISU emphasizes to get education majors spirits up.
“Our students need to give extra care to their portfolios so that they will stand out above the crowd in job searches in the coming year,” Dean said.
“Another thing that people can do, in general, is to become civically and politically engaged and inform their government that public education is an area which should not fail prêt to budget shortfalls.
“Our commitment to quality schools should not be one that we uphold only when the sun is shining, but dispense with it at the first sign of stormy economic weather,” Dean concluded.