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The Department of Education released a nationwide listing of all the teacher shortage areas through March 2009 (see below).  In my book I mention the benefits of seeking additional endorsements/certifications, specifically in high need areas.  Check out your state’s shortage areas, and consider whether you have positioned yourself to take advantage of this.


Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

DOE’s Statewide Listing of Teacher Shortages


In an earlier post,  I examined the “teacher shortage” issue.  One perspective that I presented was that  it was the high rate of teacher attrition causing the shortage.  Rather than retaining beginning teachers through mentorship and professional development, teachers are left struggling, eventually with 50% leaving the profession within the first 5 years.  To replenish these teachers leaving, we hire new ones, again providing the same level of dismal support as their predecessors.  Not only is the cost of this cycle detrimental to student achievement (with the loss of experience and knowledge from the outgoing teachers), but there is a significant monetary cost as well. 


Using the calculator below, you can calculate the cost of your school’s attrition.


I am left with asking, when will school districts and state education agencies begin to make a real, sustained effort to retain our teachers?

I recently posted Is There a Teacher Shortage?.  I read an article today that argues that the perceived teacher shortage is mainly due to teacher retention – a unique twist to this topic.  The article stated, “Our inability to support high-quality teaching in many of our schools is driven not by too few teachers coming in, but by too many going out, that is, by a staggering teacher turnover and attrition rate.”

I strongly agree with the recommendations stated in the article.  Of course, higher salaries are a given – who wouldn’t support that?  Just as important to me are the other recommendations: improving teacher preparation and supporting student and beginning teachers through an intensive mentoring program.  It is ridiculous to simply train teachers in a university classroom setting, require they complete a short stint student teaching, and then expect the majority of these beginning teachers will be highly effective in their own classrooms.  We all need constant feedback and support to grow professionally, thus greatly reducing teacher attrition and improving student achievement.  

The article was written in a few years ago, but the point is still relevant.  Click this link to read the article: Teacher Retention / Teacher Shortage.


From visiting student teacher chatrooms and speaking with student teachers, I understand that currently there is a significant challenge to find teaching jobs.  Yet, I also read and hear there is a shortage of teachers.  What does this all mean? 

I see this to mean several things.  Yes, there is a teacher shortage for certain specialized positions.  However, I would also argue that there is no teacher shortage for the broad teaching profession.  Without a doubt there is a high demand and low supply of teachers in certain areas (special education, ELL, math, and science) in high-need (inner city and rural) schools.  If you fall into this category then you are in a much better position then a student teacher endorsed in Social Studies, trying to land a job in the suburbs.  On the other hand, having an endorsement in a high demand area does not mean you lack competition.  Regardless of your endorsement or where you plan to teach, today’s principals are seeking individuals that are flexible, dedicated, and an asset to the school in more than one way.  How do you, as a student teacher, stand out?