San Jacinto College offers advice for aspiring educators
Debbie Simpson-Smith, Child Development and Education Department chair at San Jacinto College, has some advice for individuals seeking employment as educators. "There are so many people who want to teach kindergarten, but we desperately need teachers who can teach STEM courses, and especially in other languages," Simpson-Smith said in a press release. "Take the initiative if there's something in your identity that is distinct and different, then play it up." Simpson-Smith said that many education careers are available, despite numbers that indicate a lower enrollment of education majors in college due to fears of unemployment. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that science and engineering jobs will rise by 34 percent in the next six years, meaning the need for STEM educators will rise as well. "We began to see students considering changing their major and questioning if they'll be able to get a job," Simpson-Smith said in the release. "The answer is yes, school districts are still hiring teachers. However, we live in different times in which we must adapt." San Jacinto biology and education student Christina Mendoza said these STEM education opportunities make fulfilling careers. "Science education is extremely important to the fields of health, medicine and technology, and to the understanding of how nature impacts our lives," Mendoza said in the release. "My goal as a teacher would be to have students involved in science in a way that they understand and truly enjoy." Simpson-Smith's own daughter found an employment niche in deaf education after taking a sign language class in high school that piqued her interest. She has since earned a master's degree in counseling. "Other career paths in education include early childhood intervention specialists, which involve working with children who have developmental delays from birth to age 3," Simpson-Smith said in the release. "There are other types of schools, such as private, faith-based and government-funded programs like Head Start that also employ teachers." Simpson-Smith said those looking to work in education shouldn't get discouraged while job hunting. She says keeping a clean background, staying in contact with former professors and mentors, and remembering their passions can give prospective educators an employment edge. "The longtime saying still applies that you teach because you love it," Simpson-Smith said in the release. "I know a lot of teachers with second jobs to supplement income, and it's truly a myth that teachers get summers off. They're still attending professional development seminars and teaching summer school. It's always been that teachers do more with less." For more information on San Jacinto College, visit www.sanjac.edu or call 281-998-6150.
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