HOUSTON, TX – We’ve heard it all before; ‘the economy is tough and jobs are hard to come by.’
It’s getting worse for first time teachers in Texas. There are 40% fewer jobs for teachers seeking their first position than 4 years ago, even though the number of students is rising and the overall number of teachers has gone up.
Gayle Fallon, Houston Federation of Teachers President, explains, “Most of the districts gave preference to hiring back the employees they laid off before they hired a new teacher.”
And, longtime teachers aren’t retiring as early as they used to because of economic concerns.
For new teachers it means more competition, being forced to move out of state or worse, finding a new profession.
There’s another concern about all of this, “You’ll see the number of people going into teacher Ed. shrink if the jobs aren’t out there for a period of time.”
With many baby boomers currently in classrooms, there could be another issue down the road — a big section of the teaching workforce leaving all at once.
For some districts, like H.I.S.D., too many vacancies are already a problem.
“We still have 129 vacancies.”
So why aren’t teachers running to fill those positions?
“It’s becoming a less pleasant job. When they left you alone and let you teach children it was a pleasant job. We’re seeing the state re-do their evaluation system so it becomes more test score oriented. Teachers don’t go into teaching to teach the test, they go in to teach children.”
Whatever the numbers, there’s this simple demand: that the teachers of the future know what they’re talking about when they get in front of our kids.