There is a teacher shortage in South Florida, which means that school districts can not continue to use the same old recruitment means of past decades.
Schools used to draft new teachers at university job fairs in Florida and along the Northeast, but those pools have run dry. So school districts nationwide are looking beyond the typical and getting creative with their prospects.
One newer technique is luring teachers from areas surrounding the U.S. like the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, as well as outliers such as California and Hawaii.
Plenty of districts are attempting to recapture retired teachers and encourage those serving in non-teaching positions to go into instructional fields.
Palm Beach County is hoping they’ll make a slam-dunk by offering positions to athletes who have not signed with a major team. Many would-be athletes looking to join the NBA or NFL have high scores in math and science, now they’ll have an opportunity to make a difference for kids while waiting for their big break.
Broward is utilizing a portion of their 53 million federal dollars to help pay for teachers’ assistants to complete their teaching credentials with degrees in education from Broward College. They’ll also offer signing and retention bonuses at schools with the highest needs.
Broward school officials report that they lose about half of the county’s educators within the very first 5 years. At schools considered high risk, they shed about half in the first 2 years.
- Around 1,000 teachers left Broward County in 2016
- 780 teachers left Palm Beach Schools, not including retirements
- 50 percent jump in teacher exits from a few years ago
At the same time, the number of students looking for teaching degrees in Florida’s colleges has drastically dropped. The number of enrolled students went from 13,900 receiving training in public colleges in 2010 to 9,300 students in 2016, a 30 percent drop.
Many teachers express that they believe the teacher shortage is due to the fact that the position is not as well respected as it once was and add that with so many regulations, the job is no longer a favorable place for creative minds wanting to lead their classrooms in unique and interesting ways. Instead, they say, they are challenged by strict guidelines that prevent an enjoyable working (teaching) environment.