Teaching Job Shortage: What to Do?

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Did you catch this article in the New York Times last week?

Teachers Facing Weakest Market in Years

At left: For teachers, the math of applicants vs. positions is not adding up.

In school districts across the United States, the demand for teaching jobs far exceeds the supply of positions. In Westchester County and Long Island, New York, for example, more than 3,000 applicants have applied for just 7 or 8 jobs.


Of course, we all know the recession that began in the fall of 2008 has hit industries hard across the board. However, as many sectors of the economy start to show signs of recovery, I wonder how the current shortage of teaching jobs might affect a market already struggling to attract top talent. Will the most qualified applicants opt to pursue careers in more lucrative professions, where jobs are both better-paying and increasingly more plentiful?

What other effects might a shortage of teaching jobs have on prospective teachers, veteran teachers, students and school systems? We want to hear from you!

Are you a teacher, administrator, parent or student who has witnessed a shortage of teaching jobs in your region? What effects have you experienced, and what impacts do you anticipate to come? What, if anything, can be done about the shortage?

Tell us your thoughts!

4 responses to “Teaching Job Shortage: What to Do?

  1. I am participating in an alternative certification program and am required to find a job in the Austin, TX area teaching high school science this fall in order to earn my teaching certificate. The program does not guarantee jobs to the 100+ teaching candidates enrolled in the program however past statistics show that over 90% of people in the program find jobs. I did question why Austin, TX would have to recruit teachers because it is an attractive city but I packed up my life and moved here anyway, with idealistic dreams of “closing achievement gap”. So far, there have been only a handful of jobs announced for the hundreds of hopeful people I join at job fairs so I am very concerned about my future teaching career. I’m taking a big hit financially to get through the summer training and if I don’t get hired by a school, I will not be able to complete my certification, equating to a big waste of time and money.
    Program leaders project confidence in our chances of getting hired but I can’t help but question the reality of the situation.
    I have no answers or examples to share. I don’t know people in the system that can offer inside information. I only have my anxious and uncertain perspective, one I’m sure many people can relate to in todays financial climate.

  2. I am one of the many also looking for a science position in Austin, Texas. I have several years of experience and am skilled and good at what I do. I have been working in a low socioeconomic area and have experience working with the more ‘difficult’ students. I have never had any negative evaluations or been asked to resign from a position. On the contrary I have gotten excellent reviews and feel successful at what I do. However, every day I am starting to feel more and more that it is not your skills or abilities that matter in Austin but rather who you know. I have applied to every school district in Williamson and Travis counties as well as Bastrop ISD and have only been called to two interviews. I have watched other not as qualified teachers or teachers with no experience (such as Texas Teaching Fellows) land jobs. Its frustrating to watch positions open up and then close without seemingly any consideration given to me. I fear that I, as a experienced teacher, am going to be working at Starbucks when the school year starts

  3. I graduated in 2007 and headed overseas for a year to teach English in South Korea. Everything was so inexpensive and the school I worked for covered most of my living expenses so I was able to save a lot. It was a great experience; I traveled, made money and was able to teach. As great as it was, coming home and finding work has been really hard. I spent 1/2 of what I saved overseas getting a new car and reestablishing myself stateside. I found a long term sub job in New Jersey from April to December last year that paid very well but never turned into anything permanent. So when my husband (also a teacher) got a job offer in Southern Maryland this January we took it. Once we got down here they told me they’d hire me as a paraprofessional at a local elementary school but before I completed the hiring process they went on a hiring freeze and only could employ me as a long-term sub. I just received word that the situation hasn’t improved at all for this coming school year.
    It’s really disheartening. It’s also really hard to watch all the corners schools are forced to make because of budget cuts. Especially with regards to special education. Students are pushed through because schools lack the resources for smaller groups and more teachers to work with students who may be falling behind. This past year I watched an amazing fellow teacher and mentor take on a load fit for 2 special education teachers and 2 paraprofessionals. I don’t know how she managed, but she did and was able to help many of her students improve their reading skills. However, by the end of the year she was ready to leave and I’m not sure if she’s coming back this coming school year. If she weren’t to come back I don’t know that they’d even fill her position, rather I assume they’d just divide her workload up amongst other teachers and paraprofessionals.
    I love teaching and have always known its what I wanted to do. I’m lucky in that I don’t have a lot of student loans to worry about or a family to provide for. I have to keep reminding myself of that whenever I get discouraged. It could be a lot worse… Now, I’m trying to figure out an alternative career, I bartend part time but can’t see myself doing that forever. I consider myself one of those people that the education system is going to loose out on because of the job shortage in education, it’s hard to acknowledge that it has gotten to that point, but it has.

  4. I have been looking for a Chinese teaching position for, so far, almost 3 years now. The whole experience is really frustrating, but I do get more and more job interviews with time passing, which I take as a good sign, though I never got anything. I dont know which is worse: the fact you never got any calls for interview or that you got called in for interviews but with two weeks of hearttwisting waiting,nothing came out from the other end of the phone. At some interviews, I almost felt that I could get the job, but no luck. I dont know why. I have 18 years of public ( back in China, though) high school world language teaching experience, three ongoing years of private school teaching experience in America, and the candidates applying for the same position were not so many.
    This year is obvious over, it seems that I will have to go to a convenience store to make my living.
    I dont know how many more years I am going to keep on applying for public school jobs. I am not sure if I still want to take the torture of going through all those job interview processes.
    So now I am trying to find other jobs. For example, lawyer’s office, doctor’s office, accounting office, anything that can pay me slight around $15, I will be happy to settle down on that.
    With teaching job market so bad, I am sure a lot of good teachers like me will gradually lose interest in trying and end up working in other trade. It is pathetic.

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