Midlands job fair invites prospective teachers to Lexington school district as state faces teacher shortage
CAYCE, SC (WOLO) — The teaching shortage in South Carolina is impacting all portions of the state.
A South Carolina Educator Supply and Demand Report listed almost 7,000 teacher departures before the school year began and more than 1,000 vacancies even after the school year started.
“It excites me because I know it’s a field that’s always open, but at the same time it makes me nervous,” said student teacher Tonya Brown, who graduates in March. “Why is there such shortage?”
Tuesday afternoon, prospective teachers met with administrators about job openings in Lexington School District Two.
“For me, it’s a matter of looking for someone who can really fill a gap, who has a big heart for middle school students and has a passion for teaching despite the challenges that education is facing right now,” said Megan Carrero, Fulmer Middle School principal.
The job fair offered a $2,500 signing bonus for middle and high school subjects in critical need of teachers.
“That was my main reason for coming here,” Brown said. “They had the best incentives of all the districts I’ve looked at.”
Teaching is not her first career.
“Oh I’ve always loved teaching. I started in nursing but it was not as fulfilling as it should have been. Even when I was in nursing, I loved doing the teaching portion,” Browns said. “I also have to say my high school math teacher Ms. Anderson was the best. That’s what really steered me to want to teach.”
Others are searching for their first teaching job out of college and are thankful for the options.
“I wish we had more teachers, but it’s exciting and refreshing to not having to worry too much about finding a job and having a choice of where you want to go,” said USC student Abby Hutto.
The USC student is currently already working in the district as a student teacher.
“I’ve always loved working with kids and being able to make a positive impact on them,” Hutto said. “I’ve enjoyed my student teaching so far at Springdale Elementary. That’s definitely made me confident in my choice of becoming a teacher.”
Brown has had a different experience with student teaching but is excited about finding a first teaching job nonetheless.
“Challenging,” she laughs. “It’s been a culture shock and not what I expected it to be. It’s a challenge but I love it at the same time.”
Despite the pandemic and staff shortages, Lexington School District Two has managed to stay face to face learning in the classroom thanks to teachers pitching in to help out at other locations.