Filipino Teachers Fill Arizona Shortage

It is no secret that Filipino teaching skills are highly in demand and because of this, it came to know surprise that highly educated and certified teachers from the Philippines are now being hired to fix the shortage of teachers in a school district in the state of Arizona.

In total, there are about 1,000 teacher openings in Phoenix area alone due to the inadequate payment and lack of sufficient classroom resources. The reason behind the shortage is because there are many U.S certified teachers from Arizona who are fleeing the state in search for another job because of inadequate payment. In Casa Grande Union High School District, for example, they started hiring sixteen (16) Filipino teachers this year to fill up for all the local teachers who are leaving in big numbers.

An average salary of a teacher in Arizona is just below $32,000 while the average nationwide teacher salary in 2013 was just below $50,000. Compare these digits to states like California, which pays an average of about $69,000 and Nevada with $56,000, teaching in Arizona is a big disadvantage.

One of the teachers who was hired to teach in Arizona just this year is Lourdes Dellosa. She taught for more than 30 years in the Philippines but is now teaching math at Casa Grande Union High School for the last two years. For Filipino teachers, their salary ranges from $34,000 to $46,000 a year. This may not be enough for the teachers who are from Arizona but for the Filipino teachers working there, this is enough money to remit back to their families and to have enough resources to support their living expenses while working in Arizona.

Dr. Shannon Goodsell, the School Superintendent, said in an interview that the Filipino teachers that they hired for the district were all ‘absolutely phenomenal’ considering that all of their hired teachers all have a master’s degree in their own respective areas of teaching. Goodsell also said that they have already used all means of resources in finding teachers all over the United States and failed thus, the school district was forced to put a temporary solution of using unlicensed substitute teachers to fill in all the teaching positions in the school. In comparison to these substitute teachers, Filipino teachers are all licensed, endorsed and are certified to teach in Arizona.

Photo Credit: philippineembassy-usa.org
Photo Credit: philippineembassy-usa.org

The district’s method of finding Filipino teachers was to use a recruiting company to find them qualified teachers from the Philippines. The company then would recruit based of the applicant’s credentials, resume and their submitted YouTube videos showing their teaching skills. After which they would then proceed to interviewing these candidates. Once a candidate is hired, the company helps them with their visa, their living arrangements and getting certified to legally teach in Arizona.

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