Finding New Teachers for Upper Grades, More Difficult for Admin - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Finding New Teachers for Upper Grades, More Difficult for Administrators

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Many young teachers graduate from college with plans to teach elementary school making it tough for administrators to find middle school and high school teachers.

Elementary school is commonly the dream for new teachers.

The alphabet and addition tend to be more appealing to many educators than teaching physics and calculus.

"People tend to think I want to be a teacher and they're thinking little kids. So they're not necessarily thinking, I'm going to be teaching high school calculus. You have to be interested in the subject," said Beverly Johnson-Torelli, Kennewick School District human resources.

Secondary school positions are often harder to fill. More specifically, it's subjects like math and science.

"Someone with a master's degree in science or math can really make a lot more money outside of teaching. The state teachers salary is just too low for us to be competitive in many of those instances," said Lorraine Cooper, Kennewick School District spokesperson.

Richland schools say, although it's slimmer picking for these jobs, they've had better luck than Kennewick and say it might be because of the tech industry in their area.

"Secondary level we hire by endorsements. So if we need a math teacher, we post a math position. If we need a science teacher, we post a science job. So those pools are smaller, but they've still been really good," said Tony Howard, Richland School District human resources.

Administrators go to career fairs to recruit teachers and open applicant's minds to teaching upper grades.

"Even if they think they want to teach elementary, to try to encourage those people to say, well have you really thought about middle school? Or hey, with this particular background you have, have you thought about how we really need physics at the high school," Johnson-Torelli said.

Administrators say they hope that a recent push by colleges to graduate more math and science majors, will produce more applicants for positions in those subjects.