LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Officials with the Arkansas Board of Education say nearly every school district in the state has some sort of critical need to fill in their teaching ranks.
With that in mind, recruiters set up the annual "Become A Teacher" event to fill in those ranks.
The idea is to target educated professionals who may just need a spark to light a fire that makes them think about teaching young people.
“There are parts of the state that they're struggling to get teachers across the board,” said Jeff Dyer, the program director for the ADE’s recruiting efforts. “We know they are out there. You've got that degree. You don't have to go back to college and you're getting yourself into a classroom as a full-fledged teacher.”
Dyer said there are 10 subjects with critical shortages across the state. There’s art, computer science, consumer science, journalism, library, mathematics, music, physical sciences, social studies, Spanish and special education.
One of the ways the state is trying to get regular people to think about careers in education is to streamline the paperwork and licensing process.
“They can start their background checks and they can get their questions answered,” Dyer said. “They can get an idea of what's required for that process and get on the road to getting themselves into a class room.”
“Most of our candidates come from other fields like maybe it's somebody who worked as a journalist and has children,” said Melanie Olmstead, Director Of Government Affairs with The American Board, an online program that helps non-traditional teacher candidates get their credentials. “After helping their kids with their school work long enough they realized I'm pretty good at this.”
Educators say be ready for a challenge if you take up teaching.
“I think it takes a stronger, more determined, more passionate and certainly a more driven person in order to be a teacher,” Olmstead said.
Educators also say they believe you won't regret it.
“To be able to look back and be like ‘wow I really helped make a difference,’” Dyer said. “This was something that was a really positive thing on my life but also to be able to help kids.”
Other incentives recruiters have is the teacher retirement program. They say it is one of the strongest plans around.
It's a state job, so health insurance plans are also generous and teaching usually means convenient day care after school.
A potentially perfect job for people with young families.
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