Making ‘cents’ of education

College of Education helps students prepare for job market

Sarah Poland Collegio Reporter

As one school year ends and the beginning of another approaches, seniors in the College of Education will spend their summer looking for jobs. Although a positive job outlook is expected for the Midwest, a poor economy and budget cuts may affect the job placement of some Pittsburg State University education students.

Jean Dockers, director of teacher education, says more jobs should soon open up for new teachers because of the effects of the recession on current teachers.

“Approximately 20 percent of [currently employed] teachers are past retirement age because they kept teaching during the recession,” Dockers said. “They will have to retire at some point, meaning there will be a twenty percent increase in the amount of job openings.”

Howard Smith, dean of the College of Education, says that the time line of these openings is not definite. Smith says many school districts are also waiting to see if the economy is going to stabilize before they decide to hire. He says this was apparent in the last teacher interview day because there was a decrease in the number of school districts that came to interview students.

Smith says some districts came even though they weren’t planning to hire. Despite the unsure job outlook, Smith says they have not seen a decrease in students entering the PSU College of Education.

To help students prepare to enter the job market, PSU and the College of Education offer a variety of workshops and job fairs. Dockers says a couple of these opportunities include a career fair held every semester and a seminar in resume writing. Students are also encouraged to choose a minor or endorsement.

“Minors are a way to set an applicant apart from the others,” Dockers said. “Rural America needs teachers that can do more than one thing.”

Adam Brown, senior in elementary education, chose a minor in leadership to complement his degree. Brown says he is also working toward a math endorsement so he would be able to teach middle school as well as elementary. Brown says he thinks it is also important to make connections during school as much as possible.

Smith says there are jobs out there but students who are “place-bound” will most likely have a harder time finding a job. He also says he advises students to consider certain areas of teaching that are in higher demand instead of the areas that are oversupplied.

Although there are job openings in education, Dockers says there are more applicants for each position than there have been in the past. She says students who aren’t able to get a job should try to substitute.

“Subbing is a good way to get your foot in the door,” Dockers said. “It allows the school district to get to know you.”

Although availability of teaching jobs varies in different regions, Dockers and Smith agree that jobs are out there for those who are open to leaving the area.

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