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College of Education, The Teacher Shortage


The country is dealing with the first major teacher shortage since the 1990s, leaving many districts seeking qualified teachers.

“It’s really pretty dramatic and according to my research, which is a study entitled ‘A Coming Crisis in Teaching? Teacher Supply, Demand and Shortages in the U.S.’ The study projects that we can expect to be short 100,000 teachers by 2018,” said Dr. Madonna Murphy, professor at the University of St. Francis (USF). “There’s still a balanced supply in some areas, but there’s a real need for special education, bilingual, math, science and foreign language teachers.”

Murphy explained that less people have gone into teacher preparation programs for several years now because they were told there was not a demand for new teachers; however, now teachers are retiring as soon as they are eligible because they want to get their promised pension before any changes are made in it. Therefore, this teacher shortage is projected to begin in a big way next year and continue for the next decade.

“Yes, teacher attrition is a factor in this shortage as well,” says Murphy. ”However, education is a field that will continually face challenges and the benefits of becoming an educator knowing you are preparing tomorrow’s leaders, outweighs the bureaucratic issues.”

The good news is that those considering a career in education have a better chance of finding a good job thanks to the increasing demand for qualified teachers.

“It’s a fantastic time to go into teaching,” Murphy said. “And a great program to enter is the one we have here at the University of St. Francis, which has always been well respected and distinguished. Professors go beyond the requirements and get our students into the classrooms every semester beginning with their freshman year.”

USF grads are also finding positions shortly after or even before graduation.

“We have some students who had job offers even before they graduated—while they were finishing student teaching. Almost all the other grads have gone on interviews,” Murphy said.

The University of St. Francis, which has been educating the future teachers since 1925, remains committed to its original mission to “prepare competent and caring educators who understand students, serve the community and develop professionally to become ethical decision-makers and leaders.”

500 Wilcox St., Joliet, IL 60435

Call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu.