Oklahoma schools are well into the second semester of a difficult school year and local school districts are now gearing up for next year.
One position they are looking to fill is teachers.
Carrie Burkhart with the Oklahoma State Board of Education says, "There is still a great need for teachers, and we expect the pandemic to exacerbate the issue. The full effect of the pandemic, though, may not be felt until after this school year, when many teachers are eligible for retirement and may likely take it."
News 9 spoke with Mustang and Oklahoma City Public Schools and right now they say they need teachers, but the need is not yet at a desperate state.
Chris Tobler is the Executive Director for Human Resources at Mustang Public Schools. He said, "There is certainly a teacher shortage and the pandemic hasn’t helped recruiting, because due to safety concerns we just don’t feel it necessary to hold an in-person job fair.”
He says the pandemic has added some challenges when it comes to recruiting, so they are using social media more than ever before, and the job fairs for these districts are virtual rather than in person.
The district s is also working with universities and targeting soon-to-be graduates. The district has close to 830 certified teachers and needs about 35 -50 new teachers to step in.
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Because the need for teachers is so great, districts can issue emergency certifications. This means that people who have a bachelor's degree in areas other than education can become teachers. It's something that Mustang Public Schools says has helped them stay staffed up.
"As a district, we have relied on those things to make sure our kids have an educational environment that is facilitated," said Tobler.
Eventually, these new teachers would need to get certain certifications to fill the gaps on things they did not learn in their field of study. But for now, If you are looking for a career change you have an opportunity.
Dana Leach Human Recourses Directo for OKCPS Oklahoma City Public Schools says they just ask that applicants have one thing.
“For us passion, we want someone who has a passion for students, for learning for continuous growth. Someone to rise with us,” said Leach.
Both Oklahoma City and Mustang Public Schools are hosting virtual career fair opportunities.
Leach said her district is in a good spot.
"We are doing really well right now. That is why we want to keep that up and start early to get those 200 spots filled so that we continue," she said.
Oklahoma City Public Schools has around 2,300 teachers on staff and needs to fill around 200 spots.
OKCPS is hosting a virtual career fair Tuesday, March 9th from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m..
Click here to register.