Teacher preparation programs statewide are partnering with more than 50 public and private schools for the first time to hold a teacher-only job fair tomorrow.
TEACHER JOB FAIR
>> Where: Honolulu Country Club, 1690 Ala Puumalu St.
Prospective teachers who attend the gathering with resumes in hand could be hired on the spot.
The event is expected to attract more than 300 job seekers and comes when the number of teachers being hired is declining.
"With the economy as it is, competition is very fierce," said Michael Ulep, a 26-year-old prospective teacher who plans to attend the fair. Ulep said he is hopes to land a job at an elementary school, and wants to focus on the arts, math or technology.
Last school year the Department of Education hired 884 new teachers — about half the total brought aboard in previous years.
The drop is mostly attributed to teachers who would have left — through retirement or attrition — staying put because of the gloomy economic picture.
Christine Sorensen, dean of the University of Hawaii-Manoa College of Education, said the job fair was dreamed up as a way to better connect local teacher candidates with schools.
She said though there are still plenty of jobs for teachers in the islands, there are fewer than in previous years. That means prospective teachers might have to be a bit less picky about where they’ll work.
There are nine teacher education programs statewide that prepare about 600 teachers for classrooms each year.
Members of the Teacher Coordinating Committee, a legislatively mandated body made up of Department of Education and private school administrators along with teacher preparation programs, organized the job fair and are hopeful that it will become an annual event.
"It’s a demonstration of how the public and private sectors can work together to try to support education and the need for good teachers," Sorensen said.
The fair will include principals from Oahu and neighbor island schools, many of whom will be looking for candidates to fill immediate vacancies. Others will be there to interview teachers for expected openings.
All of the employers will get a packet that includes the names and contact information of all the prospective teachers, categorized by the subjects they’re qualified to teach. Teacher prep programs are hoping schools will turn to the packet if they have openings in the coming months.