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Despite shortages, teaching profession is still viable

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on July 24, 2003:

Senator Dyson There is no question that there is a teaching shortage in this country. But in Southern Maryland, while it is a problem, itís not nearly as bad as it is elsewhere.

Here, in the fastest growing area in the State, Southern Maryland school systems have a lot to offer which is a primary reason why we are able to recruit and retain teachers.

In Calvert, Charles and St.Maryís, teachers are drawn to excellent school systems, health benefit packages that include hospitalization, dental, prescription and optical plans as well as a top-notch quality of life.

Getting these teachersí interests takes some doing however and that is why our human resource directors in all three counties are the unsung heroes of the system. Competition is intense to sell their particular school system to a would-be teacher.

One human resource director I talked to recently said that at a recent job fair in Ocean City, there were more recruiters than teacher candidates and only one minority candidate.

The human resource directors and their teams of fellow teachers and administrators set up shop at numerous universities, colleges and job fairs throughout the eastern seaboard throughout the year looking to fill vacancies.

So, if you are an excellent prospective teacher who is nervous about an interview, be sure to know that the people on the other side of the table interviewing you might be just as nervous that they might lose you to another school system.

Thatís why selling good quality schools that are new or newly renovated and installed with updated technology and located in a low-crime, good quality of life environment such as we enjoy in Southern Maryland is so important.

Other jurisdictions in Maryland such as Montgomery County may offer higher salaries, but the cost of living and other intangible factors such as traffic gridlock are swaying teachers to Southern Maryland.

Something that has helped human resource directors out substantially has been the internet. For instance, during the 2001-2002 school year, of the 563 people who applied to teach in the St. Maryís County Public School System, 341 did so online. Out of the 144 teachers hired in St. Maryís, 74 were applicants originally taken off of the internet. So, for those who say shopping your resume on-line is a waste of time, this proves that it certainly is not.

In addition to offering good benefits, teaching is one of the most fulfilling occupations one can pursue. In addition to making a difference in hundred of childrenís lives, teachers enrich themselves by seeing their students succeed in life. They are also guaranteed stable employment and salary.

There are no better role models than teachers despite our best efforts to find them among our professional athletes and in the entertainment world. I make it a point to visit as many schools in my district every year. Not once during my public service career have I seen a teacher acting with anything but the utmost enthusiasm, pride and competence. When I thank them for what they do, they always seem taken aback at the praise. To them, excelling in the classroom is what they are supposed to do. They arenít looking for congratulations or kudos. They just want to produce a quality young woman or man who will go on to benefit society.

Look back at your youth. Who do you remember as a real role model that never let you down? Most will cite a teacher or two.

Thatís the kind of influence teachers have always and still do have on their young charges. Itís a great profession.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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