COLUMBIA, SC — Hundreds of educators and would-be educators poured into gymnasiums and cafeterias across the Midlands for teacher recruitment fairs Saturday.
Typically held by school districts around the first of the year, “teacher fairs” are a way for school officials to meet potential new hires while candidates, in turn, get a chance to put their best foot forward.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Lexington 2 Superintendent Venus Holland.
With 17 schools to highlight, Lexington 2’s teacher fair was held at Brookland-Cayce High School on Saturday morning. District officials said 160 people pre-registered for the event, up by about 30 from last year, but officials were expecting that number to pass 200 once additional walk-ins were included.
As the economy loosens up, district officials say the events will continue to be important for new openings, but even in down economic times the fairs are important in identifying potential candidates who may be needed to fill a sudden vacancy.
“It’s only February so it’s still early,” said Fulmer Middle School Principal Dixon Brooks. “But we don’t know what is going to happen in May.”
In addition, substitutes are often in demand, especially during a difficult flu season when a shortage of teachers can suddenly add up.
Teachers, too, have an opportunity to meet faculty and staff from a variety of schools at the events. On Saturday, they asked questions, handed out resumes and generally tried to get a feel for what school leaders were looking for in a potential recruit.
“It’s a little overwhelming,” said Jennifer Erickson. “There are so many schools to see.”
A Gaston County, N.C., pre-school teacher, Erickson was at the Lexington 2 event in hopes of finding a teaching job closer to her family in South Carolina.
Certified in early childhood and elementary education, Erickson had already dropped by Lexington-Richland 5’s recruitment event, also held Saturday, at Irmo Middle School, and was busy making her rounds, meeting representatives at each of Lexington 2’s schools.
“It’s a nice way to be able to introduce yourself and meet everyone face to face,” she said.