Teacher Job Fair links students, employers

Even in a challenging economy, people still have to learn – and the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education is well known for supplying high-quality teachers to the profession who work locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

Since 2003, this well-deserved reputation for excellence, coupled with a 97 per cent employment rate upon graduation, has brought more than 40 school boards or educational organizations to the U of L to recruit teachers.

This year, the Teacher Job Fair takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 20 beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the University Hall Atrium.

"We needed to provide a service to current students and recent graduates so they could interact with future employers," says Judy Lavorato, Teacher Job Fair co-ordinator.

Job Fair delegates are primarily Alberta school board representatives but in the past few years there has been an increase in the number of international agencies who wish to attend, as well as an increase in the number of private schools.

"Typically the delegates are part of the administrative and human resources team from each school board/agency," Lavorato says, adding that confirmed international delegates include representatives from Australia and the United Kingdom.

"Some employers will decide to personally interview upcoming grads who will be ready to teach within the next few months, so students can be made more aware of their options for employment," she says.

"As well, we encourage 3rd and 4th year students to attend the job fair at some point during the day to talk or interview with the delegates. It's a great experience for both employers and students to collect information about potential opportunities with each school board or agency."

The Faculty of Education offers the most extensive practical teaching experience program in Canada – with 27 weeks of practical work placement, students often receive double the amount of time in front of a classroom as other programs, and find they turn their experiences with the many teacher partners who mentor U of L students into long-term work relationships.

"Coming to the University of Lethbridge allowed me to be in smaller classes with professors who genuinely care about me and my progress," says Whitney Jones, who started work two months after graduating in 2009. "The practicum time is invaluable. I've literally been a teacher‚ even before graduating."