The graduating classes of 2020 have been dealt a difficult hand. On top of everything that has transpired in the latter half of their final year of school, they are entering the American workforce at a time when unemployment rates have reached record highs. With the private sector taking the brunt of the impact when it comes to closures and layoffs, jobs in education, a job market that has seen a decline in interest over the last decade, are suddenly looking like a more viable option for young people facing an economy shaken by a global pandemic.
In uncertain times, job security holds a lot of weight, and educators enjoy a certain level of security in the mandates school districts must abide by when it comes to student-teacher ratios. It is also likely there will be an increase in demand for new talent in our schools in the near future. According to the most recent figures from the National Center for Educational Statistics, teachers age 55 and up make up around 17 percent of the workforce. CDC guidelines are clear about the higher risk factors facing people in this age bracket. Rather than risk returning to what could be hazardous working conditions, a significant portion of teachers nearing retirement age may instead opt for earlier retirement, leading to higher than average job openings.
The increasingly technology driven landscape of modern education opens the door even further for young educators who may have a technological edge on their older counterparts. This trend existed well before COVID-19 closed school buildings across the nation, forcing many to rely solely on technology to bring teachers to their students remotely. Technology driven distance learning is part of the new reality facing educators and will likely remain a tool districts will want to keep handy given the possibility of temporary closures in the years to come.
Schools have as much to gain hiring college students and recent graduates as these young educators themselves have landing one of these relatively secure jobs. If the ultimate goal of a school is preparing its student body for future success, it will need to prepare them for a world similarly driven by technology−one that values new skills and new thought processes. Young educators are uniquely positioned to fill this role in a student’s education.
In order to capitalize on new talent with an interest in teaching, schools will need to make sure they are making themselves an attractive option for young people. Generation Z, those born between the late 90’s and early 2010’s, have their own set of priorities when it comes to the teaching profession and how they see the future of education as a whole.
A recent international survey of student teachers and early-career educators by the research and analysis division of The Economist Group explored where their priorities for the present and future of education lie. According to the results of the survey, young people are motivated to pursue education for much of the same reasons as previous generations. Enjoying working with children, having an impact on future generations, and making a meaningful contribution to society all rated highly, as one might expect. When it comes to predicting the future of education, the survey found young educators expect to see an increased use of technology, an increased focus on social and emotional learning, and more teaching time devoted to global issues like climate change. School districts should be open to sharing these priorities if they expect to bring in new talent.
As the largest education-exclusive substitute staffing and management provider in the country, ESS has launched the careers of many young educators. Working as a substitute teacher can be a great introduction to a future career in education, and ESS provides these opportunities to college students and recent graduates. During the 2019/2020 school year, ESS partner Frisco Independent School District in Frisco, Texas drew from the pool of substitute staff ESS had recruited for their district to hire 17 aides and 25 certified teachers for full-time positions.
ESS’ recruiting initiatives for our partner districts include reaching out to nearby colleges and universities, participating in campus events and working side by side with career centers to identify recent graduates and promising college students pursuing careers in K-12 education. All staff recruited by ESS are provided the most comprehensive in-person substitute teacher training in the industry. Our training seminars prepare new hires to be able to walk into a classroom and teach, arming them with the necessary skills for future success in the industry.
ESS is also an industry leader when it comes to offering forward thinking technology solutions to our partner districts and keeping up with an evolving educational landscape. Offering live online instruction through our virtual substitute teaching program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ESS connects highly qualified virtual substitute teachers with districts in need through an interactive, live, online instruction model. ESS is always seeking qualified and tech-savvy educators who can use virtual teaching technology to its fullest potential to enrich their students’ educational experiences.
Educational practices may be evolving, but the goal remains the same−preparing young people for future success. ESS believes there is great value in educators who can relate to their students and teach in a way that speaks directly to this new generation and how they learn and process information. We go out of our way to recruit with this new generation in mind, seeking out promising recent graduates and educators, and providing them industry-leading substitute teacher training and the hands-on classroom experience they need to build a successful career in education.
- nces.ed.gov – “Characteristics of Public and Private Elementary and Secondary School Teachers in the United States”
- eiu.com/n/ – Economist Intelligence Unit – “Staff of 2030: Future-Ready Teaching”
- edweek.org/tm/index – “Here’s What Gen Z Teachers Around the World Want in Their Jobs”
Contact ESS to learn more about how we can help connect your district with talented young educators and innovative virtual teaching solutions.