Considering a change in professions? Santa Fe Public Schools officials want to talk to you.
Their job fair — Wednesday from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Toby Roybal Gymnasium at Santa Fe High School — is seeking to recruit nontraditional candidates for teaching positions.
District officials are particularly interested adults with at least a bachelor’s degree who would consider pursuing alternative certification to become a teacher.
And work wouldn’t start at some undetermined date in the future, but for the fall semester. The first day of school is Aug. 6.
With 70 teachers leaving the district after the stressful 2020-21 pandemic year, Santa Fe has plenty of jobs open. The same is true in districts throughout New Mexico.
Santa Fe Public Schools also is recruiting substitute teachers, a key need. People can work full-time or as little as one day a week. The possibilities are wide open.
First, though, people who are interested should show up, résumés in hand, ready to talk to district recruiters. Positions are open at many grade levels and across most subjects. Higher education recruiters will be available so students can learn more about how to become a licensed teacher via an alternative path.
To start teaching quickly, individuals will seek a provisional teaching license. With such a license, they can teach while pursuing credits for an alternative license.
This change of career is not for the faint of heart — working at a demanding job while attending license certification classes will take discipline and hard work. It’s essential for the district to provide support for fledgling teachers, as experienced as they might be in other careers.
The district says it is considering investing part of its final round of pandemic funds in teacher retention. That’s an encouraging step in an era when keeping employees in almost any field is a challenge. But teachers deserve extra support, whether at the beginning of their careers or after going above and beyond the call of duty for years.
For people working in careers that aren’t a perfect fit, the opportunity to enter a new profession is an exciting prospect. Starting pay comes in at just over $41,000 a year and comes with benefits, retirement and summer months off. New Mexico teachers also can move up a three-tiered licensing system for higher pay.
None of this is easy. Teachers have one of the more demanding jobs on the planet. They are second-guessed, blamed for many of society’s ills and expected to teach in-person and remotely with barely a moment to regroup. And to be blunt, the state must invest in its teacher recruitment system — not just individual districts — so that more of the best and the brightest seek to become teachers.
To be honest, recruiting in a high school gym is a sign of desperation, but hosting a job fair beats sitting back and waiting for folks to show up. At the very least, the district should be able to sign up a new bunch of substitutes. We’d wager they’ll find more than a few talented candidates to become teachers.
Teachers shape the lives of children, and in doing so, shape the future. If teaching as a career interests you, the Santa Fe High gym is the place to be Wednesday.