Teachers facing tough test: too many applicants, too few jobs
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Teacher Jackie Janaky works with a soon-to-be first-grader during summer school last week at Turtle Creek Elementary School in Delavan. Delavan-Darien School District, among others in the area, report a much higher than normal number of applicants for teaching jobs due to the economy. Terry Mayer/staff.
DELAVAN — When Stephanie Hormig, 24, of Beloit was pursuing a teaching certificate in college, she never dreamed that finding work would be so difficult. After all, she thought she was entering a profession with a profound shortage of qualified candidates.
But what a difference a Great Recession makes.
Hormig graduated from college in December and immediately started looking for work. While she did ultimately land a job this month as a drama teacher at McNeel Middle School in Beloit, that only happened after she applied for more than 40 positions. Casting a wide net, she sought teaching jobs in Wisconsin, Illinois and even in New York City.
Tracy Deavers, director of instruction and technology for the Delavan-Darien School District, said weeding through applications is a job in itself.
“We’re getting well over 100 applicants for any position we post,” she said. “So far, we have posted for five teaching positions, as well five special-ed teaching positions. That’s a lot of applicants to sift through.”
None of the districts contacted for this story have been forced to cut teaching positions, but all report an upswing in applicants for the few positions they are posting.
“I think the economy has played a role (in the shortage of teaching jobs),” said Jim Gottinger, district administrator for Lake Geneva Area Schools. “People are staying longer and (are) not quite as mobile as they used to be.”
Big Foot Union High School in Walworth saw a record number of applicants for a social studies position. Applicants, said Principal Mike Hinske, came from New Mexico, Florida and Arizona. All told, 45 people applied for one position. The candidate ultimately offered the job recently was laid off in Arizona.
While Pam Knorr, the district administrator for Walworth Joint School District No. 1, is grateful she didn’t have to lay off teachers this year, shrinking budgets, she said, are testing the management skills of school administrators.
“It’s tight budget times like I’ve never seen in my life,” Knorr said. “I’ve never seen a budget so tight, and next year promises to be the same.”
Read the full story in the July 18, 2010 e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, HERE.