Teacher Preparation

When Hawaii Says It Needs Teachers, People Respond

By Elisha McNeil — April 28, 2016 1 min read
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When it comes to curbing teacher shortages, it looks like Hawaii may have something of an advantage over some other states. Since news got out earlier this month that the aloha state is looking to fill more than 1,000 teaching positions for next year, the state’s department of education has received a landslide of applications. (Gee, wonder why ....)

But here’s the catch: A lot of the candidates are nowhere near qualified.

“I saw one that said, ‘I’m a hairdresser. What kind of job do you have for me?’” department spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz told Honolulu-based KHON-TV.

Officials say more than 8,350 people from 98 countries have registered on the department’s website, and almost 5,000 of them have submitted applications, according to KHON-TV. Before the online publicity, the department would get 20 to 25 applications a day. On Monday alone, they received 633.

The DOE has had to bring in extra staff to go through the flood of emails and applications. Here are some unedited messages the staff has reportedly had to suffer through (all copied verbatim):

At the moment I am working as a teacher of French and I also cover Enhlish classes in a primary school in London." "Applying for teacher in hawaii is there an age limit? What are other requirements to be meet. and benefits." "As a Dentist graduated from Egypt with german citizenship, Can i work in my field There?" "Tengo oportunidad de aplicar para alguno de los puestos que ofertan? Qué más debo hacer?" "Do you hire Canadians?"

“It morphed into something that is out of control, so to bring in the amount of staff to deal with these bogus applications has been frustrating for our staff, because we really want to make sure we get the best and the brightest,” Cruz said.

Officials say reasons for so many vacancies include retirements, other job opportunities, and relocations. Hawaii’s current annual teacher turnover rate is just over 8 percent, according to the department.

The department is looking to hire more than 1,000 new teachers (who meet the requirements) for the 2016-17 academic school year. Hairdressers without teaching credentials need not apply.

Photo by Flickr user Nan Palmero; licensed under Creative Commons.

More on the nationwide teacher shortage:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.