Novi Community Schools Received 952 Applicants For One Teaching Job

The superintendent speaks about the claims of a teacher shortage

The Novi Community School District Library Media Center. Photo via Novi Community School District.

At the Novi Community School District, they advertised 66 full-time teaching positions this past school year with an average of 123 applicants per opening.

Two of the 66 positions received just three applicants. Twenty of the positions had more than 100 applicants with the highest at 952.

Novi Superintendent Steve Matthews was asked if he thought the number of applicants for a position was a fair way to determine whether there is a teacher shortage in Michigan.

Here’s his response:

Steve Matthews, Novi Superintendent

Your question is an interesting one. I would say that the number of applicants for a position can be an indicator but is not necessarily the best indicator.

What do I mean? Certain jobs attracted few applicants because of when the job was posted (during the school year as opposed to the typical hiring time) or because the job was part-time or because the job was non-traditional (teaching in our adult education program for example). I would not attribute the low number of applicants to a teacher shortage.

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However, some of our jobs did not receive many applicants - like computer science - because there is a teacher shortage. People with computer science degrees can find higher paying and more attractive jobs elsewhere so they may not be attracted to teaching. That is problematic and a sign of a potential teacher shortage.

The teacher shortage is an interesting issue. At teacher fairs hosted by Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and Michigan State University we have seen a significant decline, in general, in the number of people who attend these events. Novi specifically typically has long lines because we are hiring and because, we hope, we are a district where people would want to teach.

A equally important question is are we attracting the right people to education? Are we attracting skilled, knowledgeable, caring adults into the profession?

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