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Hamilton County Dept of Education holds recruitment fair Monday

The Hamilton County Department of Education is trying to fill 300 vacant teacher positions with a recruitment fair at East Ridge Elementary School Monday. (Image: WTVC)

The Hamilton County Department of Education is trying to fill 300 vacant teacher positions with a recruitment fair at East Ridge Elementary School Monday.

Recruiters with the school district say the more teachers they hire, the smaller the class sizes will be. According to recruiters, the openings are hard to fill, especially in low performing schools.

NewsChannel 9 looked at teacher pay in Hamilton County and in neighboring districts to see if salaries were behind the recruiting difficulties, or if other factors came into play.

Anna Kraus is working her on campus job at UTC. She's an education major and can't imagine working towards a different career path.

"I've wanted to be a teacher since I was a little kid," said Anna Kraus. "I have a passion for kids and I just decided that I wanted to help them in their growth through their academic years."

Kraus is a junior, so she's not applying for jobs just yet. When the time comes, she wants to stay in Hamilton County and says the recruiting fair could be a good networking opportunity.

"In my placements here in Hamilton County I've really loved the teachers, the administrative directors and things like that," said Kraus.

If Kraus works for the Hamilton County Department of Education when she graduates, she can expect to make about $38,600 her first year. That's standard for new teachers with Bachelor's degrees. Turns out, that’s similar to many surrounding counties. In Catoosa and Walker counties, new teachers would make about $35,000. New Bradley County teachers make just over $40,000.

"That's not really why I'm in it," said Kraus. "Just kinda depending on the school and the atmosphere more so than the pay."

Faye McCullough was a teacher in Hamilton County Schools for 12 years. She retired in 2012, and says the educational atmosphere changed over the years, which could be why the district is having a hard time filling vacancies.

"It's the 24 hours of planning and meeting the needs of the kids," said Faye McCullough. "It's more of a burn out factor...It all came about when all the of pressure for testing and evaluating came in."

McCullough says with so many high paying options for new graduates, people aren't encouraged to go into education like she was back in the 60's.

"Today I guess if I was still taking science and math, I would have a lot more opportunities," said McCullough.

Like UTC student Anna Kraus, McCullough worked for passion and hopes new teachers will echo that motivation.

"It's still the greatest job you can ever love," said McCullough. "Because the kids are amazing."


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