Graduating education students learn there are few teaching jobs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Graduating education students learn there are few teaching jobs

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As the nation suffers through a recession, some students are getting a tough lesson in economics. It used to be that education students were guaranteed a job as a teacher when they graduated but the economy has changed things.

School systems across Georgia are holding off on hiring new educators because of tighter budgets. Dougherty County has no teacher vacancies. Some Albany graduating seniors worry about their futures.

Albany State University students Quenton Davis and Jessica Whatley have two things in common. They're both counting down until graduation day in a couple of weeks. 

"I am," said Davis, "I am counting down."  

"I'm so excited," said Whatley.

Both are education majors ready to take the teaching world by storm. "Because I was influenced by great people that so happened to be teachers," said Whatley.

"I've had some great teachers along the way that kind of took me under their wings and made me who I am today so I thought what better way to be a mentor and give back than education," said Davis.

But as the graduating seniors plan to give back, they're encountering a little resistance. "I've started looking for jobs but unfortunately a lot of school systems that I'm looking at have a hiring freeze because of the recession," said Davis.

"With the budget situation being what it is, we are currently in a pattern of work out this year's budget and move into next year carefully in order to maximize our employment teacher dollars for our system," said Dougherty County School System Public Information Officer R.D. Harter.

As the Dougherty County School System maximizes their dollars, it shows in their teacher vacancy numbers. "We're not currently advertising or seeking teacher positions until we determine where those needs are," said Harter.

School systems have until May 15th to assess current teacher contracts. "On May 15th we will determine which teachers that are currently under contract will return next year and that will be a real defining moment in establishing our needs for next year," said Harter.

At that time more jobs may open up and the outlook may be a little better for teachers looking for work. "I'm sure that across the state that new teachers in Georgia will have the opportunity to have some teaching jobs open up towards the end of the year for the beginning of the next school year," said Harter.

That's some encouraging news for students ready to transition to the front of the classroom. "I'm just ready to begin," said Whatley.

Another commonality between Whatley and Davis--they're not letting the slow market get them down. "It may not be going along as planned, but it's not disheartening," said Davis.

The situation is simply teaching them a little patience.

Although the system may not be able to afford to hire any new teachers, they say they are not understaffed.

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