This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

August 8, 2001

Creative Teacher Recruiting

Public School administrators face some difficult challenges. In a full- employment economy, an abundance of exciting and attractive jobs lures current and prospective teachers away from the classroom. Full-time, part-time, and substitute teachers are all at risk, with many responding to the siren song drawing them away from the rewarding, yet demanding, work in the classroom. Transportation supervisors wrestle with the same problem, complaining of the difficulty they have attracting qualified drivers for school buses.

What's the answer? A lot of ideas have been floated, from increasing teachers' salaries to providing more teachers' aides so teachers can concentrate on teaching. This solution sounds similar to proposals to relieve the strain on registered nurses. In a move that sounds like the information technology industry, some school systems are offering signing bonuses for teachers to join them.

Since 1994, the US Department of Defense has placed almost 4,000 retired servicemen and women in teaching positions throughout the country. The Troops to Teachers program has been well received. Since military professionals can retire after just 20 years, many of these teacher recruits are still young enough to comfortably teach another 20 years. For many of them, teaching is an extension of their work in the military: helping young people grow and achieve.

Luring retired teachers back to classroom is another strategy being employed by local school districts in their drive to engage quality teachers in their increasingly important mission. Retired teachers often miss their enjoyment of working with young people, making a positive difference in their lives. With experience, wisdom, and proven dedication, they're being welcomed back to the classroom. There's no reason a lot of teachers in their seventies can't do the job, especially if we're able to attract non-degreed teachers' assistants to help out with the details.

Recruiting New Teachers, Belmont, MA, estimates some 2 million more teachers will be needed in US schools. This national non-profit organization was formed in 1986 to raise esteem for teaching, expand the pool of prospective teachers, and improve the nation's teacher recruitment and development policies and practices. You can learn about their work at www.rnt.org.


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