Dewan: Considering a teaching career?
Abraham Lincoln High School in the San Jose Unified School District is pictured in this file photo.

National news stories continue to raise awareness about teacher shortages.

According to a 2019 report by the Economic Policy Institute, “The teacher shortage is real, large and growing” not only in California, but at the national level. A study, published in 2016 by the Learning  Policy Institute, predicted that “by 2020, an estimated 300,000 new teachers will be needed each year, and by 2025, that number will increase to 316,000.” A 2022 report by the same institute showed two-thirds of surveyed districts had more vacancies than before COVID-19.

The teacher shortage has been on the radar of school leaders for decades across the country. At various times, shortages in specific areas such as special education, math and science presented major concerns.

Despite the stressors and challenges that face schools, teaching remains an incredibly rewarding profession.

California is investing in programs to expand and diversify the educator workforce, including the Teacher Residency Program and the Golden State Teacher Grants Program (GSTG).

The GSTG awards up to $20,000 for students enrolled in an approved teacher preparation program. Students commit to teach in a “high-need” field at a “priority school” in California for four years, and have five years upon completion of the recipient’s preparation program to meet that obligation. High need fields include:

  • Bilingual Education
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Career Technical Education in STEM areas
  • Special Education
  • Multiple Subject Instruction
  • Transitional Kindergarten

Recognizing the increasing need for staff to provide social emotional and mental health and wellness programs at schools, the eligibility for GSTG was recently expanded to include individuals seeking a pupil personnel services credential in areas such as counseling and  social work. To learn more about the GSTG, visit https://www.csac.ca.gov/gstg.

Twice each year, the Santa Clara County Office of Education hosts the virtual Step into Teaching: Opportunities in Silicon Valley Public Schools event to assist those considering teaching careers. This includes recent or soon to be high school graduates, college students, career changers, retirees and persons who may want to reenter the workforce.

The next event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will cover rich information about the various opportunities for earning a credential.

Step into Teaching: Opportunities in Silicon Valley Public Schools will clarify the process of becoming a teacher and how to prepare for a teaching career, including what is required, how to navigate the credentialing process, incentive and reimbursement programs, and information about compensation, retirement and financial aid.

This year’s event will include experts and representatives from Santa Clara University, San Jose State University, National University, University of Massachusetts Global, University of San Francisco, Grand Canyon University, Cal State TEACH and the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s EPIC program. Experts will be available to answer questions and provide valuable information. The office of education credentialing department and financial aid specialists will be available to answer individual questions and offer guidance.

To learn more or to register for the Aug. 20 event, please visit:  https://www.sccoe.org/events/stepintoteaching/Pages/default.aspx

San José Spotlight columnist Mary Ann Dewan is the superintendent of schools for Santa Clara County. She has more than 33 years of experience in the field of education. Her columns appear every third Monday of the month.

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