DCSS faces possible teacher shortage - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DCSS faces possible teacher shortage

March 7, 2008

Albany  --  Dougherty County Schools expect to lose a tenth of their teachers, that's 100 vacant positions this fall.

Potential new teachers from across the nation, and as far away as India, are in Albany as recruiters look for replacements. Human resource managers say recruiting new teachers has become competitive, with some district's offering thousands of dollars in signing bonuses.

Some students find math and science challenging. It's also been a challenge for the Dougherty County Schools to find qualified teachers for those subjects.

 "We compete, but mainly we complete against the larger system such as Dekalb, Cobb, Atlanta City Schools. Whenever I go out to recruit, that's who I'm competing against," said Dougherty County Schools Human Resource Director Dr. Carolyn Hand.

Friday potential teachers were put to the test to fill as many as a hundred vacancies.

"I also ask about their strengths, very important, and the weaknesses of course, because we all have weaknesses, and I want them to be honest about it because of the way we can help them once they get into the classroom," said Northside Elementary Principal Dr. A. Shunate.

They're looking for elementary, math and science teachers, but because of a shortage they're recruiting from as far away as India. Applicants say there's no difference.

"If you have command of classroom management, discipline procedures and also a teacher is always fair and consistent so if you have techniques, new techniques to control the students, to manage the students then we can manage anywhere," said Teacher Applicant Nagamehi Grti.  

But to be able to fill the vacancies in the Dougherty County School District they have to be able to compete with other district who often offer incentives.

"We went to the job fair in Auburn University and there was district out of Michigan; they were offering five thousand dollar sign on bonuses, well of course we're not able to give that type of a bonus," Hand said.

Instead, Dougherty County says they offer incentives like low rent, quality of life, and a young community as selling point to put today's applicants in the classroom.

Dougherty County School Officials say they've recently lost teachers to retirement, relocation of a teacher's spouse, and other competitive districts.

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