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Do you have a job yet?

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You are at a summer family gathering and inevitably someone asks, "Do you have a job yet?" If your answer is no, it is hard to keep from feeling discouraged. However, you are not alone. Many recent graduates have not found suitable employment yet. Unfortunately, this is particularly true for education graduates.

When I graduated from college with my teaching certificate, teaching jobs were scarce. In fact, I was hired just one week before the school year started at a high school that was closing at the end of the year due to district boundary changes and dropping enrollment. I went to new teacher orientation with a number of others who were also hired last minute.

July is traditionally a down time for US schools. Everyone, including human resources staff and principals are on vacation. In addition, summer is the time when many districts are hashing out budgets and negotiating contracts. According to an article in Education Week on June 29, 2011, "Districts Report Bad News on Finances" by Christina Samuels, districts are in the process of cutting and finalizing their budgets. Therefore, you can count on more late-summer hiring than in years' past.

There are other things that happen during the summer that make room for new hires. Teachers decide to move, retire, or switch districts. Teachers become pregnant and choose not to return to work, spouses get jobs that require relocation, health issues arise. Any number of events and choices can lead to positions opening that were not open when school let out for summer.

So don't despair if you have not landed a teaching job yet. Once the budget and contract issues are worked out and unforeseen circumstances play out, more jobs will become available. In the meantime, keep checking on-line job postings at your favorite teacher recruiting sites and prepare yourself to accept a last-minute placement. And don't forget to have a little fun. After all, it is summer!

--Kathy Kinney,

Career Center Director,

Dixie State College, St. George, Utah

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