Monday, April 27, 2009

Career Fair Highlights Teaching Opportunities


Future teachers hoping to make a job connection will get a head start at Rio Salado’s 7th annual Teacher Career Fair on Thursday, April 30, from 2-6 p.m. The fair is free and open to the public.

“Our goal is to foster a community-wide event connecting, public, charter, and private schools with potential teacher candidates,” said Paulina Ngo, marketing coordinator for Rio Salado’s Teacher Education program.

According to Ngo, while some school districts are facing layoffs, there are hiring opportunities for teachers in Title I and charter schools and districts in rural communities, especially in high-need areas such as special education, math and science.

“I think students will absolutely benefit from the career fair experience,” said Janine Weyers, Field Experience Coordinator for the Teacher Education program.

“Even if it does not lead to a job immediately, students can make contacts and learn about the various school districts,” Weyers said. “Having that exposure and talking to human resources personnel will help prepare them for a time when jobs are available.”

Leanna DeKing (photo above) and Gary Kreus are two Rio Salado students who will attend the career fair in hopes of landing a position.

“I plan to network and place myself before several people representing as many schools and districts as possible,” Kreus said. “If no offers are extended, I will try and maintain contact with the districts over the next school year.”

DeKing realizes today’s economy may make it more challenging to find a position. “With the tremendous number of teachers that received non-renewal or reduction in force notices, the market is very competitive.”

DeKing recently completed Rio Salado’s Teacher-in-Residence program, and focused on special education because it provided her “the opportunity to help students who are perhaps most in need of my skills and talents,” she said.

Even if she doesn’t land a position, DeKing plans to continue her education. “I am currently working on my master’s degree in education, and my long-term goal is to obtain an educational leadership position.”

Kreus decided to pursue a teaching career to fulfill a lifelong interest in social studies and sharing that knowledge with students. His future goal is to teach high school social studies in either the Deer Valley or Glendale school districts.

“The influence of my own teachers also had a large bearing for me in making this choice,” Kreus added.

Kreus found Rio’s online teacher certification program convenient, because it allowed him to continue working while he pursued the post-baccalaureate program.

“The high-quality course material and challenging assignments have prepared me for the reality of teaching and managing a classroom effectively,” Kreus said.

“School districts love coming to our career fairs because they find our students to be well prepared,” Weyers said. “And our students love the fair because it is such good career exposure for them.”

For more information about the Teacher Career Fair call (480) 517-8414 or visit www.riosalado.edu/teachers.