Monday, November 16, 2009

More Teachers Than Classrooms

The common wisdom is that teaching is a recession-proof profession because no matter what kind of economy we're experiencing there are going to be kids and they are going to need to go to school. As common sense goes, it's pretty common. Only problem is that it turns out not to be technically true. With districts across the country cutting positions because of funding issues, there are now too many teachers on the market for the jobs that are available.

Interestingly, the one exception is math teachers for whom there is still an "extreme shortage" according to American Association for Employment in Education. I think that says something interesting about who becomes teachers and the fields from which they are drawn.

The silver lining in this is that with more teachers than positions available, principals should have the luxury of hiring the very best teachers for their classrooms. After all, the more people who apply for a position, the more likely you are to find a really great teacher. So maybe this will end up being a good thing.

The bad news would come when otherwise good and qualified teachers try to seek employment elsewhere if they can't find a job. (This could be the result of structural unemployment, so don't tell me I'm contradicting myself.) In the short term, the increased competition for jobs could be good. In the long term, I hope it doesn't cause damage.

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