Number of first-year teachers in Texas declining

EL PASO, Texas - A new teacher at Jose Damian Elementary School says it took her four years to find a job.

According to a recent report by the Houston Chronicle she's not alone.

Virginia Bernal teaches first grade in the Canutillo Independent School District. She's what's known as a first-year teacher since she started October 2013.

Numbers by the Texas Education Agency for the 2011-12 school year back up the report about the decline in hiring first-year teachers.

Statewide only about 4.6 percent of all teachers are in their first year. In El Paso County, the rate is slightly lower at about 3.35 percent.

Canutillo ISD, the district Bernal works in, checks in at more than 6.56 percent.

"I started seeing the classroom and everything that goes on in it and it just really made me want to change careers," Bernal said. She holds a degree in business but was inspired to switch to education when her daughters started school.

University of Texas at El Paso Assistant Provost Dr. Armando Aguirre said the College of Education works with districts across the state to host job fairs. However, he says recent graduates have to be flexible when looking for a job. He recommended accepting teacher's aide positions, becoming a substitute teacher or taking temporary/part-time jobs.

"Basically it depends on their passion. They're passionate about student learning," Jose Damian Principal Sandra Valdez said Wednesday.

Valdez said the school had two teacher openings for the 2013-14 year and that new teachers are considered even when against those with more experience.

The best advice she could give graduates is to never give up. Credentials such as internships and volunteer work always help, Valdez said.

Although it took Bernal a long time to reach her teaching goal, she said it has been worth it.

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