By David F. Bateman, Shippensburg University, PA
After the CEC 2009 Convention & Expo, many of the new teachers with whom I talked went back to a school year they were excited about and said was rapidly coming to an end — while others said it could not end soon enough. Some teachers stated the warmth of April and May makes it difficult for students to focus on their work in school. Some of these same students may need extended school year programs or summer school to address deficits from the academic year, but hope springs eternal for them.
One of the things (among many) that impressed me about the convention in Seattle was the sheer number of school districts recruiting for new teachers. It was pretty much “name a state” and there was a representative from that state (or several different school districts) looking for new special education teachers. I wish I’d known about how impressive the job recruitment at the convention was when I was looking for a job – CEC membership is worthwhile for that reason alone. One can go anywhere and CEC really does a great job of making the world available to you. Tell your colleagues and any soon-to-be graduating students about the amazing job fair. It is a reason all by itself to go the conference.
Some students told me they spent all their time at the job fair and I understand why. However, they were missing the best in special education CEC had to offer this year. There were great sessions, which I will discuss later, and several opportunities to honor the leaders in the field who have shaped what we think and how we work with students with exceptionalities. These sessions and special events are also a major part of the annual conference.
To all the district representatives and principals out there responsible for hiring: One of the consistent factors that teachers share with me about their job hunt is the need to know they will be supported in their new schools. I talked to a group of teachers who were being interviewed at the CEC Convention & Expo and they all said it was mainly them interviewing the district representatives about the support provided for IEP development, writing, meetings, planning time, and staff development. Salary would be a discussion item, but it was not the main point they wanted to discuss with recruiters.
When I talk with new teachers in my classes, they all ask people from other districts about the support provided in the schools. The districts in my geographical area that provide more support for teachers have less turnover and therefore spend less time looking for teachers, retraining, providing initial training, and wondering about who will be working for them the next year. It may cost a little more up front, but it is much cheaper in the end.
If any of our readers had a good experience with the Career Center at this year's convention, I'd love to hear about it.
Next up: Great sessions at the CEC 2009 Convention & Expo.