Friday, June 29, 2018

Searching for "GREAT" Teachers!

by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski

Many schools across the country are having difficulty hiring teachers. It is no different here at Colstrip Public Schools. Teacher shortages are a reality.

The table at right indicates that schools throughout the country are grappling with teacher shortage. This graph indicates the subjects most effected across the nation.

Currently the Colstrip Public School District is searching for several positions for the 2018-2019 School Year. The District advertises these positions at both the state and national levels in hopes to gain the interest of teaching candidates that will do a great job. As superintendent, I send out individual emails to educational graduates soliciting their interest to come to Colstrip. Below are flyers I am posting on our District Facebook and my Twitter accounts to help get the word out.  Please feel free to share them in your social media.

Finding the best educators to serve the youth of Colstrip has become a focus. Very seldom do schools get a plethora of applicants for an opening. According to CNN's Caitlin Ostroff, she shared a study done by UCLA that found that college freshmen's interest in teaching as a career has steadily declined since 2006. In fact, nationwide teacher education enrollments have dropped 35% since 2009.  In addition, teachers leaving the profession have increased by 8% with two-thirds quitting before retirement according to the Learning Policy Institute. The bottom line is that fewer folks want to become teachers with a high percentage of teachers leaving the profession.

Hiring teachers and retaining teachers in remote communities is a challenge. There are so many variables to consider. Cost of living, quality of housing, access to shopping and eating amenities, health care and health insurance are just a few of the things that every potential employee considers before signing a contract. I also want to mention the biggest variable that comes into play is also the most difficult for remote educational communities to compete with: a candidates desire to work close to the home where their extended family reside. It is an employee's market in very demanding times when it comes to educational accountability. 

Districts have to be more strategic in the hiring process by doing some of the following: build relationships with surrounding teacher-college programs; grow your own teachers by generating student interest; get to the candidates first (before the competition); find new ways to solicit interest from teacher candidates; or provide more money, amenities and fringe benefits with fewer funds to do so. Searching for "GREAT" teachers is more difficult than ever. 



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