The Right Time for Recruiting New Colleagues: In 100% of the Cases, the Students Responded That Their High School Teacher Had Recommended the Program and Encouraged Students to Become Technology Education Teachers

By Tiala, Sylvia; Harris, Kara | Technology and Engineering Teacher, September 2011 | Go to article overview

The Right Time for Recruiting New Colleagues: In 100% of the Cases, the Students Responded That Their High School Teacher Had Recommended the Program and Encouraged Students to Become Technology Education Teachers


Tiala, Sylvia, Harris, Kara, Technology and Engineering Teacher


Are you encouraging your students to become the next generation of technology educators? "Preparing the STEM Workforce: The Next Generation" was the theme of ITEEA's 2011 conference, and additionally ITEEA offers a PowerPoint presentation challenging its members to "Prepare the Next Generation for What Lies Ahead" (www. iteea.org/AboutITEEA/ITEEA.pps). Exciting times lie ahead for technology and engineering educators as the profession debates its role relative to national STEM initiatives, legislation is introduced to expand engineering/technology education into the K-12 curriculum, and a national assessment for technological literacy is developed. The time is right to recruit new technology education teachers. Encouraging individuals to enter the teaching field may be well-timed in spite of bleak news about teacher layoffs, budget cuts, and a struggling economy. The need for technology education teachers has existed for decades, and the trend continues.

Historical Perspective

A shortage of technology education teachers has been an ongoing concern since the 1980s and continued into the new century. Indicators that the technology education profession needed more teachers included personnel teaching in secondary schools out of certification area, a decline in students entering technology education teacher preparation programs, and a decrease in the number of university programs preparing technology education teachers (Wright and Custer, 1998; Gray and Daugherty, 2004). Concerns were voiced as predictions that the demand for teachers would increase along with rising student enrollment in public schools through 2028. High attrition rates for beginning teachers accompanied by the predicted retirement of 700,000 teachers were cited as factors creating demand for new teachers during the beginning of the 21st century (Curran, Abrahams and Manuel, 2000). Half to two-thirds of the replacements were expected to come from new college graduates, with the rest of the positions being filled by veteran or returning teachers. New graduates with teaching degrees were entering alternative careers (only 65-70% of newly prepared teachers entered the teaching field). While some individuals indicated an inability to find jobs, teacher shortages occurred in urban areas where there was a greater likelihood of crime, poverty, and overcrowded classrooms. Rural schools with lower teaching salaries and substandard facilities also had trouble attracting teachers. Teacher surpluses coexisted along with teacher shortages by curricular area, geographical area, and quality of the school district (Darling-Hammond & Barnett, n.d; Curran, Abrahams, & Manuel, 2000). Today the scenario remains the same.

Today's Scenario

Today's need for technology education teachers is much the same as it has been since the 1980s. Student enrollment in public schools increased from 46.857 million students in 1999 to 49.293 million students enrolled in public schools in 2007 (National Center for Education Statistics, September, 2009). Over 41% of the vocational/technical teachers at the secondary level (9-12) in the United States are over the age of 50. Over 10% of these teachers are teaching without any degree (National Center for Education Statistics October, 2009). The American Association for Employment in Education's (AAEE) 2008 Educator Supply and Demand in the United States Executive Summary indicates that economic conditions are negatively impacting the demand for teachers. The report notes that the "reluctance of candidates to relocate more than 50 miles from their home or university continues to be reported as an impediment to their employment" (pg 8). Many rural and urban areas are experiencing teacher shortages, with supply and demand for teachers varying by region (see sidebar).

What are the Current Trends in Technology Education?

News reports and current unemployment figures may seem to indicate that now is a poor time to encourage students to enter the teaching field. …

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