Interest In Teaching Surges

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Plenty of people dream of leaving their jobs to become teachers and now, more people are actually doing that.

These teachers, with real-life experience and often with deep knowledge of their subjects, are answering a call to service that is part of a strategy dramatically boost the size and quality of the teaching work force dramatically.

Career switchers make up about one-third of the ranks of new teachers, and that number has jumped in the past decade.

Now, as the recession deepens, even more people are deciding to become teachers.

The New Teacher Project, which helps people switch from other careers to the classroom, reports a 44-percent increase in the number of people who have applied to its teaching fellows programs this year.

Not everyone who applies will make it into the classroom, but the avalanche of applications is encouraging to the Obama administration, which has a plan to dramatically increase the number of teachers, and career-changers are an important part of the plan.

Alisa Salvans put herself through college as a makeup artist, which wound up paying more than entry-level jobs when she graduated with an environmental chemistry degree.

She was stuck with makeup until her second daughter was born, and then she decided her schedule managing a counter at Saks, combined with her husband's as a restaurant manager, was just too hectic for two kids.

Now 39, Salvans is now a chemistry teacher at Richardson High School in suburban Dallas.

Friends had always said she would make a good teacher, and Salvans thought they were right.

She applied to Texas Teaching Fellows, which trains teachers in the summertime and lets them teach full time in the fall.

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