Future graduates who are hoping to fill spots during a teacher job fair were dressed for success, some 80 future teachers about to graduate from Florida A&M University, all certified and ready to sign contracts.
Ashley Harvey, a FAMU student, says, "I'm just excited that they are here to continue offering us jobs. Especially in this field, which we know is declining in teachers, so I'm very grateful that they're here."
Robert Lemons, Dean of the FAMU College of Education, says, "We have a big demand for teachers in Florida, and our students are here to fill that demand."
FAMU's teacher job fair attracted close to 100 school districts across 15 states, including Gadsden County, where the need is twofold: addressing a teacher crisis in addition to raising FCAT scores.
Yasmeen Leon, a recruiter for Gadsden County Schools, says, "We know that it's just a matter of time before the scores turn around, and things will progressively get better for us each year."
After years in the books this crop of new educators looks forward to managing their own class, knowing the first few years won't be easy.
Latonya Daniels, a FAMU student, says, "You have some students that are from a different bunch, but you just have to take care of them and love them like you would love anyone else in your classroom. You just have to take extra patience with them."
Education officials say teachers leave the profession every year. Some blame salaries, while other experts say the high turnover is due to burnout, but these future educators will tell you they're eager to get started.
Thursday, Florida State University will host its Teacher Job Fair at FSU's Union Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.