Demand grows for new teachers

Despite a nationwide struggle to fund education, job prospects for most teachers are expected to grow by 13-percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here in the Quad Cities, that growth is reflected.

“Dedication is more important than ever. It’s a tough field.

With more senior teachers taking early retirement options in school districts like Davenport’s, the door is wide-open for younger ones to fill their shoes.

“What you’re hoping is, the experienced and the new can blend and become very effective,” said Linda Schneider, with the Iowa State Education Association.

Hiring new and more experienced teachers was the point of Tuesday’s job fair at the Waterfront Convention Center, where 12 area districts like Bettendorf and Clinton, set up booths to screen potential hires.

“They want to be teachers, they want to work with kids and we owe it to them to give them that opportunity to show what they got,” said Joseph Vermeire, Assistant to the Regional Superintendent, Rock Island County Regional Office of Education.

But, some educators think federal mandate No Child Left Behind has too much of a one-size-fits-all approach to student achievement that might scare away quality teachers.

“Once your focus is on testing and you take those other things out, you’re missing some things that teachers can bring to all students,” said Vermeire.

“I think it’s a very challenging profession to go into,” said Schneider.

But, for the ones who are interested in going into teaching, Linda has some advice- “talk to those who are in it, who are doing it, get the chance to observe and get the idea of what they’re getting in to.”

Many of the positions at the job fair were specialty and hard-to-fill ones, like German and Special Education.