FWISD teaching positions scarce despite demand

Applications for teaching positions in the Fort Worth Independent School District may be up, but available positions have decreased markedly, a FWISD official said.

Terry Buckner, the director of recruiting for FWISD, said the school district is predicting to hire only 450 new teachers this year compared to 900 last year because of two economic reasons: Many federal education programs are being eliminated, meaning many unemployed educators are being hired as teachers, and fewer teachers are retiring.

While the vacancies are lessening, the same cannot be said for the applications: Buckner said she received about 5,000 applicants already for the next school year. She said both people who have been laid off and former stay-at-home moms are turning to teaching to make money. Dale Young, the director of student teaching and career services for the College of Education, said this year and last he has had a more difficult time placing his students in schools because the uncertain economic state is pushing people to teach past the normal retirement age.

“Because of the economy last year, many people who were going to retire did not,” Young said. “They kept their jobs, and it looks like it’s happening again this year.”

Cecilia Silva, interim associate dean of undergraduate studies, said money is a factor causing many teachers to stick around past their planned retirement age.

“The teachers that generally would have retired are hanging on for a little bit longer, because if you look at our savings for retirement, they are not looking as nice as one would hope,” Silva said. “So we might want to be reconsidering the notion that jobs are always there for teachers.”

Young said that in order to keep up with the stiff competition for a smaller number of job openings, students are encouraged to study English as a Second Language or Special Education in addition to their content area because there are fewer teachers qualified in those areas.

Jeremy McKeever, a junior French major and a Japanese and education minor, said he is not worried about finding work because there are a lot of jobs for foreign language.

Drew Dutton, a junior secondary school education major, said he plans to get a master’s in social work and have that as an addition and/or backup to his teaching degree.

While these students are prepared for their particular job markets, Young said in the last year he has received more and more calls from people in business who are worried about their jobs and are wondering if they can come back and be a teacher.

For TCU graduates, that answer is yes: The post-baccalaureate certification is only offered to those who graduated from the university.

Students who majored in the areas of business education, history, mathematics, speech communications, computer science, journalism, Spanish, French, German or dance can receive a teacher certification by completing 25 hours of coursework after being admitted into the program.

Silva said the program is offered only to graduates of the university so that the College of Education faculty and staff can feel confident supporting the certification.

“As a TCU graduate, we know what background you bring into the program and we know what kind of expectations the university has had of you,” Silva said. “For us, telling the state that so-and-so is ready for a teaching certification is a commitment. It is a commitment to kids and to a profession.”

For more information about receiving a teacher certification, visit http://www.coe.tcu.edu/cert_post_grad.asp or contact Diana Woolsey, the director of teacher certification, at (817) 257-7202.