Well, let me tell you, school districts around the state of Texas may be looking for you.
There is a significant shortage of candidates for several key teaching disciplines. The shortfall is statewide, with needs spread amongst all districts in Texas. This shortage provides a fantastic opportunity for individuals considering a teaching career.
Districts and news outlets are reporting that the state is in the midst of a major teacher shortage that is impacting districts around the state.
According to the Texas AFT, the statewide branch of the American Federation of Teachers ……. “Texas school administrators have begun to sound the alarm over a looming teacher shortage that could leave Texas classrooms more than 30,000 teachers short when school resumes next August.”
Bilingual and English As a Second Language Teachers
According to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News “The number of limited-English speakers in the state has grown by nearly 50 percent in the last decade with about 1 in 5 students struggling with the language. But in that same time, Texas had a dramatic 20 percent drop in the number of educators working in bilingual and ESL classes."
The need for bilingual educators is so high that some districts are importing teaching candidatesfrom locations like Puerto Rico, Mexico and Spain.
The common perception is that this need is limited to Spanish-speaking candidates, but due to an influx of students from diverse backgrounds, some districts are seeking candidates that are fluent in other languages such as Vietnamese, Chinese and Hindi.
How big of a problem is the lack of bilingual teachers?
Some districts, like Mesquite ISD, have launched incentive programs this year to keep their best teachers in the classroom through additional training opportunities and the chance to earn up to $12,000 more annually.
Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners.
Career and Technical Course Offerings and Curriculum vary widely around the country and examples include, graphic arts, animation, game design and technology.
Why are these areas important?
CTE helps prepare young people for success in both post-secondary education and a range of high-wage, high-skill careers and is a critical engine for our economy.
Students concentrating in CTE programs graduate high school at higher rates (93%, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80%) and succeed at higher rates in postsecondary education. (Source: Learning Policy Institutes)
The shortage of qualified CTE teachers is a nationwide problem. According to the U.S. Department of Education’s 2016–17 nationwide listing of teacher shortages, 34 states reported shortages of CTE educators including the state of Texas.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in these four specific disciplines in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.
Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications.
STEM is a subsection of CTE and is vital for the future of the American workforce. With the amount of baby boomers retiring, America has a great need to replace this valued part of the workforce.
There is however, a great shortage of qualified teachers. Many with technical backgrounds have chosen industry instead of the classroom.
Like bilingual Texas teachers, the shortfall is increasing. Don’t be surprised to see teaching bonuses and other financial incentives like educational teacher loan forgiveness from districts across the state to incentivize new teaching candidates.
Special Education programs cover a wide variety of impediments to learning but are designed for students who are mentally, physically, socially and/or emotionally delayed.
This aspect of “delay,” broadly categorized as a developmental delay, signifies an aspect of the child's overall development (physical, cognitive, scholastic skills) which places them behind their peers.
Due to these special requirements, students’ needs most often cannot be met within the traditional classroom environment exclusively. Special Education programs and services adapt content, teaching methodology and delivery instruction to meet the appropriate needs of each child.
In Texas, the challenges are immense.
According to the Texas Education Agency, about 1 of every eight Texas public school students need special education services. (Source: Texas Education Agency)
However, the state employs only 20,000 special education teachers to serve its school districts. Texas was one of 48 states that reported a shortage of qualified special ed teachers. While not exclusive to Texas, it is a growing need.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness
One of the greatest benefits of pursuing a teaching job that is in demand is the potential for teacher loan forgiveness. The Math and Science Scholars Loan Payment Program was created to encourage math and science majors to take up teaching in Texas public schools, especially in schools with a high percentage of low-income students.
Teachers accepted into the loan repayment program can receive funds from the state applied to their college loans. To be eligible, you must be a U.S. citizen, have completed an undergraduate or graduate program in mathematics or science, earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 and be certified to teach math or science in Texas.
To accomplish the final requirement above, you must first obtain a probationary teaching certificate in Texas. The next step is to have an employment contract as a full-time teacher to teach math or science in a Title 1 school for the initial year of your application. In order to qualify for full-time teacher status, your employment contract will have to call for an average of four hours of instruction per school day.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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