Cedar Rapids Weather
Future Teachers Prepare for Uncertain Future
By Mark Geary, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS – In the aftermath of state budget cuts, schools across Iowa are slashing jobs and increasing class sizes. For the first time ever, the Iowa State Education Association plans to gather statistics about how many teachers will get laid off this year.
Teaching used to be considered a stable profession. But, the class of future educators at Mount Mercy College faces a future filled with furloughs and fears of job cuts.
"It does definitely throw a wrench into my optimism,” Josh Stoll, a 26-year-old Mount Mercy Student said.
Professors now include additional lessons about job hunting as they prepare students for graduation.
"It's more about trying to make yourself marketable and being flexible about where you're applying for jobs,” Mount Mercy Education Department Chair Ellen O’Keefe said, “If you want to go into education, you better love it.”
Tomorrow’s teachers will encounter larger class sizes and more responsibilities. In this economy, instructors also face tough competition from both peers and veteran colleagues.
"There will be teachers out there with more experience under their belt than I have who will also be vying for the same jobs,” Stoll said.
Abbey Losch, a 22-year-old Mount Mercy Student said, "It does scare me to think I might not have a job in something I've spent the last four years of my life studying...It’s also scary to think I might teach somewhere for a year and, at the end of that year, get told, ‘Sorry, we have to cut your position.’”
They understand the risks. They've done their homework. By refusing to abandon their dream, they will teach a whole new generation about the power of doing what you love.
"I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Student teaching was probably the best experience of my life,” Stoll said, “I like the idea of having a hand in shaping the next generation.”
Losch agreed, "I know teaching is what I'm meant to do and I want to do."
Teachers around the state will get notified by the end of this month if their district plans to cut their position. The Iowa State Education Association expects layoff numbers to drop from earlier estimates.
E-mail Mark Geary at Mark.Geary@kcrg.com or follow him on Twitter.
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