LEE COUNTY, Fla. — If you love working with kids, have a desire to continue learning, and are a compassionate person, the Lee County School District is hiring hundreds of teachers. If you don't have a teaching degree, there are other ways to pursue a career as a teacher.
"Are you somebody who likes to learn? Then you teach the children that there's a love of learning. ‘Oh, look! My teacher continually learns, too," Angela Pruitt, the Lee County School District's Chief Human Resources Officer, told Fox 4.
Pruitt said being a teacher is so much more than knowledge and learning.
"Fundamentally, what I need is for you to care and love kids. Whether it be a four-year-old pre-schooler, or an 18-year-old high school student,” she said. "There are heartbreaking stories out there, that the school is the safest place in their life."
This pandemic has changed so much of our lives, and many people are considering new career paths.
"I actually am finishing my 30th year in Education, and I was a career changer," Pruitt said.
She said as long as you have a Bachelor's degree, there's likely a road to teaching for you.
First, the Lee County School District will take a look at your transcripts.
"Review that to see what particular subject you might be eligible for a temporary teaching certificate," Pruitt said.
Then the District and the State Department of Education will outline what you need to do over the next few years to get a permanent teaching certificate.
"We have lots of programs and opportunities to support people who have a Bachelor's degree. Don't think that just because you don't have a degree in teaching doesn't mean you can't be eligible to teach," Pruitt told Fox 4.
She said nationwide, fewer people are getting degrees in Education.
"So those career changers are more and more a makeup of who we're hiring," she said.
The Lee County School District needs teachers in core subjects like Math and Reading, but Suzette Rivera, the District's Assistant Director for Recruitment, said it really needs teachers in Special Education.
"My first year teaching, I actually taught in a Special Education classroom, and I found every day that I just wanted to really figure out, "How can I make my students excel?" So having that extra level of curiosity -- that is what we're looking for in the teacher in that role," Rivera said.
She said it isn't necessarily more work to get there, it's just a different path.
"It's just a little different than a traditional teacher. They would have to make sure that they have the credentials required by the state of Florida, and that would mean a passing score on a subject area exam in Special Education," Rivera said.
"I can help you craft a lesson plan. I can teach you classroom management strategies. But if you don't in your heart care and love about children, that's something I can't teach you. So that's really what we're looking for," Pruitt said.
If you think being a teacher within the Lee County School District is a good fit for you, you could be in the classroom as soon as this Fall. If you have questions, you can call the District, and they will walk you through the process. To apply for a teaching position in Lee County, click here.