LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Lee County School District is looking to hire between 500 and 700 teachers for next school year.
The district will hold a teacher recruitment fair next Thursday, May 9 from 5-8 p.m. at the district office. If you are interested in attending, you can register on the district's website at the following link: http://www.leeschools.net/info/12-13/recruitment/welcome.htm
Math, science and technology teachers are in high demand. Tim Ferguson, director of professional development and leadership says, "Lee County and Florida continues to grow, our student populations continue to grow. Science teachers, math teachers, technology teachers are really in demand in our schools as we look to school to career readiness and what our students need."
He says the district has about 750 first year teachers this year. "We're also looking for alternative certification teachers. Teachers that maybe are coming into education from another route, coming from outside the field," he says.
Ferguson says nationally, about 50% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years because of the tough demands. He says while Lee County's record is a little better, the district is committed to training and retaining teachers. "We put a lot on teachers plates, we expect teachers to accomplish a lot, and accountability adds a lot of that stress to teachers, you have to have a special skill set to be a teacher," he says.
The district has about 5,000 teachers in all.
First year Bonita Springs Middle School science teachers Jeff Blessing and Sara Schroeder say they can't imagine doing anything else.
Blessing says, "there were a lot of unknown expectations, but as I worked my way through the year, I definitely made the right career choice teaching science. I've always had a lifelong passion for science so I'm finally in a position where I can spread my passion."
Schroeder says, "I had a couple teachers when I was younger who really made a difference in my life and were really supportive so I wanted to be like them. I wanted to do this pretty much since I was in middle school, the grade of the students I'm teaching now. And I think it doesn't matter what job you're in, there's going to be some struggle to overcome, so at this point I don't see ever doing anything else other than teaching."