For those of us who graduated in education during a teacher glut, the present teacher shortage seems unbelievable. It reminds us, however, that when there are fewer teachers to go around, schools can’t expect to be able to sit back and wait for eager applicants to be knocking on their doors. Instead, schools need to be creative in recruiting new teachers and in retaining their present staff, particularly when securing sufficient funding to provide competitive salaries isn’t really an option. Here are a few ideas that some districts are utilizing to actively recruit the teachers they want.
- Make a good first impression. Whether wooing a potential mate, rushing girls to join a sorority on campus, or recruiting a teacher, first impressions are very important. Make sure your website is up-to-date, interesting and informative. Today’s teachers are very much connected to the internet and will look at your district’s on-line presence to help them decide if they are even interested in looking any further. Talk to your top teachers who are excited about working with kids–have them put a video clip on your website. Talk with parents about submitting short clips about what they like about the school–and getting their permission to have students do the same. What’s cuter than a clip with a kid? How about a clip with a kid and a hamster in a classroom? Or a kid in the veggie garden at the school? You want to be the school that has a website that projects, “this is a great place to work with great people, great parents and great kids!”
- Make a good impression during the interview. Let them know about what kinds of benefits teachers working at your district can enjoy. Yes, maybe all the Arizona districts have the Arizona State Retirement System, performance pay and medical insurance–but maybe their home state did not. Is your school a rural school that offers teacher housing? That’s a big benefit. How about mentor teachers to work with the new teachers? What about technology in the classroom? What about educational supplements like “Beyond Textbooks” or “Cambridge” to assist them with lesson plans and meeting state standards? What can they expect for school duties? Do you pay for individuals to serve as club sponsors? If you don’t have enough money to give everyone great salaries, do you have enough to give a school loan pay down each year as a longevity bonus for people in those “hard to fill” positions?
- Make a good follow-up impression. Gone are the days when job applicants attend the interview and then send a nice follow-up letter to remind you of how much they appreciated the chance to interview–and to keep their name in front of you. Now schools need to do the follow-up. If you had a great applicant, send them a video clip about the school with an email letting them know how much YOU enjoyed meeting THEM. Give them the names and email addresses or phone numbers of teachers who would be willing to “give them the skinny” about the school (but choose those teachers carefully). Send them information about the community–fun things to do, information about housing opportunities or the cost of living. If you have a local chamber of commerce or a county-wide one, they can provide a wealth of information.
For more information on how Arizona School Districts are handling the teacher shortage by recruiting teachers from outside the United States, you can link to Education Law Attorney Matthew L. White’s blog entry or watch his video.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Recruiting During a Teacher Shortage or other Education Law matters, please feel free to contact Candyce B. Pardee at 800.863.6718, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona with a branch office in Yuma, Arizona, and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.