The School of Education at UNCG held a Career Fair Thursday, March 17. The Career Fair was held virtually but still went off without too many errors. Many school districts from across the state and country were in attendance.
Schools from all around North Carolina paid to scout UNCG’s talent for new teachers and faculty, as well as a few institutions from around the country, coming from as far as the National Heritage Academies in Michigan to see UNCG’s student educators.
Out of all of the school districts, I spoke most in-depth with one, Asheboro City Schools. The district offers a program for incoming teachers where they are paired with mentor teachers during their first three years.
I was told that many teachers find this program to be beneficial to their development and in learning new pedagogies to implement in the classroom. It helps them learn best practices, differentiate teaching methods from their own and even help their mentor teachers learn new ways to plan lessons.
Students are given advantages in technology, with K-5 students being given iPads to enhance their learning, while grades 6-12 are given Chromebooks to complete their school work. This has helped with the digital divide, and the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has posed for school systems.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what the future of education looks like. Educators have to learn how to navigate an online environment, while still having to figure out new groups of students every semester and never meeting them in-person.
Students are facing similar dilemmas. Some aren’t able to attend class due to lack of internet connectivity, no computers at home, not enough computers for all the children in school or a lack of resources like food and other basic needs.
As the Career Fair went on, I attended various meetings with other school systems that offered similar options and opportunities for students across the state. Many schools offer programs for new teachers to best assist their students and their own instructional methods in the classroom.
While each school system is unique in the way it tackles the problems education faces in 2021, many of these schools offer similar learning opportunities for students. All of the schools I spoke with offered technology in the classroom, diverse programs and an outgoing engaged community to enhance the future of students in North Carolina Public Schools.
For my peers and I, we all had questions about how the online environment affects our students and ourselves as teachers. Many UNCG students asked what the school systems are offering to help. They wanted to know what classes are available, what support exists for new teachers and how teacher morale has been addressed in the past year.
Many of the school districts said they offered a great deal of support to new and old teachers alike during these challenging times.
When my peers asked about some of the hiring recruiters at the Career Fair, most said they had a background in education and moved on to human resources after several years of teaching. Making this transition, they said, was fulfilling for them to help hire new teachers for the schools. They also said their backgrounds in teaching were extremely helpful for their work in human resources.
UNCG hosts multiple career fairs throughout the school year. Hopefully, next semester we can flaunt our school’s talent in person.