There is a statewide teacher shortage in high-need areas such as math and science and a state organization hopes to inspire individuals to consider teaching as a new career. South Carolina experienced a 60 percent increase in teacher vacancies in the 2012-13 school year, entering September 2012 with more than 270 vacant full-time positions, according to the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement. This deficit makes South Carolina the state with the greatest number of teaching vacancies in the nation. The American Board, a non-profit education organization, hosts events throughout the state to counsel potential career changers about the opportunity to bring their experience to the classroom by becoming certified through a state-approved program. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and determined to make a difference in the community, can benefit from The American Board’s S.T.E.M. program which provides the opportunity to become a highly-qualified teacher in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Robin Taylor, the Chester School District’s coordinator of teacher and administrator quality, noted reasons a program such as this is important to the community.
“It is important because sometimes, a shortage is because not a lot of undergrads at the collegiate level are going into areas of science and math,” she said. “Sometimes, it’s because of salary. The education system is competing with a company like Proctor & Gamble versus a teaching position with us. The money may not be there but as a teacher, you’re gratified that you’re giving back to your community.”
Katelyn Price, a teacher certification specialist, will advise aspiring teachers how to become certified through The American Board in a series of community events to be held in Lake Wylie and Fort Mill. Paraprofessional educators and substitute teachers are also strongly encouraged to attend the events if they are pursuing a license as a full teacher. Hour-long sessions will be held on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Lake Wylie Public Library. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, sessions at 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. will be held at the Lake Wylie Public Library; and on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., sessions will be held at the Fort Mill Public Library. Advanced registration is required at www.abcte.org/drupal/teach/events because seats are limited. The American Board was founded in 2001 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The online, self-paced program allows individuals to earn certification without additional class time, student teaching or state exams. For more information, contact Price at (803) 600-8010 or email@example.com.