Education hopefuls test waters at ENMU teacher fair

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Those searching for a career in teaching and those looking for teachers said they benefited from attending the teacher fair at Eastern New Mexico University Tuesday.

Students said the ENMU teacher fair helped future teachers get an idea of what’s available for new teachers in New Mexico and Texas. Even though some didn’t find openings they remained optimistic.

Portales and Clovis School District officials were in search of teachers to fill their vacancies. It’s school districts like Portales and Clovis where Heather Alvarez would like to teach.

“I was looking for jobs in the area,” Alvarez said. Alvarez, who lives in Portales, said her husband is stationed at Cannon Air Force Base. She would like to be a junior high teacher. “I want to stay in the general area, because I have a young child and with daycare early in the morning I don’t want to have to travel far.”

Alvarez completed the spring semester and is receiving her teacher certification.

Ty Walker, ENMU director of counseling and career services, said there were more than 30 school districts from New Mexico and Texas in the teacher fair Tuesday. The teacher fair took place in the Ballroom of the Campus Union Building on the ENMU campus.

Walker said 75 people interested in going into teaching signed up and he estimated about 130 students looked for jobs during the teacher fair.

“Things have changed with “No Child Left Behind” and school districts having to come up with internal funding,” Walker said. “They’re not hiring as much as they used to, but there is still a need for teachers. Teachers retire and leave.”

Walker said the bottom line is that school districts are still looking for teachers.

“Young teachers want jobs and districts are looking for teachers,” Walker said. “It’s a great experience for students. They are able to make great contacts for networking with districts. Their resumes are given out and they know what the districts are wanting from students.”

Sarah Marquez is student teaching at Roswell and traveled to Portales to see if there are any openings. Marquez said some of the school district officials she visited with were from Hobbs, Roswell, Carlsbad and Amarillo, Texas.

“It was very promising,” Marquez said about teacher openings. “I had a lot of practice with interviewing. They asked me about classroom management and why I went into teaching.”

Marquez is receiving her bachelor’s degree for elementary education from New Mexico State University Saturday.

Priscilla Hernandez, director of instruction for the Portales School District, said there are openings for special education, a speech language pathologist and an elementary teacher.

Henry Montano, dual language coordinator for the Clovis School District, said there are openings for English, science and math teachers at Clovis High School and junior high. Montano said there are also openings for a counselor, athletic trainer and in elementary education.

“It’s nice to have Eastern here where students can pick up good teaching skills,” Montano said. “And graduate good students who want to stay in the area.”

Hernandez and Montano estimated visits with 30 students each during the day.