In 2008, 3,000 teachers were standing in long lines at the Oregon Professional Educator Fair, with only 100 school districts in attendance. Dragged down by an economic recession and teacher cuts across the country, teachers with a master's degree and experience were having difficulty finding jobs.
Fast forward to 2016; the tides have turned; the baby boomers are retiring; a teacher shortage is being experienced across the country, and school districts are scrambling to fill their vacancies. On April 5-6, 2016 in Portland, the largest West Coast Educators job fair experienced the highest number of school districts in eight years. With 220 districts and organizations seeking teachers and only 1,200 teachers in attendance, administrators were working hard to fill their openings.
A similar scenario was experienced a week ago at the Washington State Educator Career Fair. Eight years ago, with teachers in abundance, the number of school districts dwindled to fill only a small portion of the Tacoma Dome. This year, the Tacoma Dome was overflowing with school districts from several states; however, with only 800 attendees, many jobs remain unfilled.
This is a great market for teachers, and hopefully it will encourage more young people to enter this challenging but rewarding field, in which there is a high need for skilled teachers dedicated to working with today's youth.