School districts from all over Texas participated in yesterday’s teacher job fair. Pam Laughlin, director of Career Services, said more than 450 students participated in the event which is held every semester. The coliseum was packed with the 144 districts’ representatives and teacher hopefuls.
“I always encourage the students to get some business cards and make some notes on the back of it and then follow up. Don’t be passive,” said Laughlin. “Be prepared to give your own infomercial.” She also advises the students to do some research about the districts they are interested in before attending.
Laughlin added that Career Services has a library where students can look up salaries that the different school districts offer, so they don’t need to bring it up until a more appropriate time in the interview process. Career Services helps with cover letters and resume writing, but appointments are recommended.
Wanda Shea, who attended the job fair, said it shouldn’t be hard to do some preparation. Most of the districts she is interested in have a Web site, and this helped her narrow her search. She worked in a chemistry lab and as a teacher for a few years, and now she wants to be a chemistry teacher or a counselor.
Most districts need math teachers, and science seems to be the next most desirable area of study. Bernard Cannariato works for Goose Creek Independent School District in Baytown. He says that they are looking for ten new math teachers. Cannariato explained that the district’s needs are doubling due to the new T.A.K.S. test, which is replacing T.A.A.S.
“It’s more difficult and requires more higher thinking skills,” Cannariato said. “There are five tests covering reading/ language arts, math, science and social studies. It is the model for Bush’s ‘no child left behind’ program, and Texas is so far ahead of the rest of the nation. We’ve been doing it for years and years.”
Baytown has 19,250 students with 24 campuses. There are fourteen elementary schools and one alternative school. The alternative school is for pregnant students, and it has a day care.
Houston I.S.D. was also represented at the job fair. It has more than 200,000 students. Kay Kerr works for H.I.S.D. Human Resources and says she spoke to over 60 students yesterday.
“We always hire Sam graduates,” she said. “They are really well prepared.”
Kerr says H.I.S.D. is the largest school district in the state, with 300 schools.
Twenty miles south of Dallas is a small town called Ferris. They have 2,300 students in the district, and Lisa Watson, an elementary school principal, and Deidra Vanderslice, a kindergarten teacher for Ferris I.S.D., came to the job fair. Vanderslice moved from Arkansas to Ferris after she saw a job opening on the Web. She says the district is “like family,” and the small community has Christian values. Watson touts the small town atmosphere, too. She moved to Ferris after 20 years in Dallas.
Former Bearkat Emily DeMilliano was there to represent Huntsville I.S.D. She attended high school in Huntsville, and studied journalism at Sam. She is now responsible for public information for the same school she once attended.
“I love the district and the community. I’m proud to be a part of it,” she said.
Huntsville also has a program called “Money for the Asking,” which will hire teachers and then pay their tuition so they can return to school for advanced degrees.