Jordan School District welcoming 450 new teachers
Aug 14, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Aug 15, 2023, 8:50 am
(Photo Amanda Dickson, KSL Newsradio)
SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — One week from today will be the first day of seventh-grade math at Hidden Valley Middle School in Bluffdale. It will also be teacher Emily Schwarzmann’s first day as a new teacher in the Jordan School District.
How does it feel now that the first day of school is just a week away?
“Petrifying,” Schwarzmann said. “Exciting but petrifying.”
She hasn’t met her students yet, but she already loves them.
“My biggest concern is making sure that I do right by them,” she said. “I want children to feel loved and respected, as well as educated.”
The road to becoming a teacher
Every teacher’s path to the classroom is different. For Schwarzmann, it began during the pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit,” she said, “I was substituting beforehand, and I realized I really loved it. I missed having that ability to interact with children and students, so I went online and did my four-year degree in a year, lost my mind, and now I’m here.”
When she thinks of students, she doesn’t just think about their test scores or their attendance records.
“These are humans who have feelings, emotions,” she said. “They need to be loved and cared for as well as educated. My job isn’t to belittle them. My job is (to) bring them up and help them feel cared for.”
One of 450
Schwarzmann is one of 450 new teachers in the Jordan School District. They all met on a sunny Friday last week at West Jordan Middle School.
“It’s one of our largest groups we’ve had come in,” said Amanda Bollinger, associate administrator in the Jordan School District. “We’re here to have a big celebration, welcome them and provide some targeted and intentional professional development to help them be successful on their first day of school.”
Some of the district’s new teachers come straight from college. Some come from other districts, other states and even other countries.
“It’s a mix of professionals with various experience,” said Bollinger. “They’re going to be adding to our pool of great, amazing teachers.”
Why do new teachers leave?
KSL has reported on the challenge Utah schools have had with keeping new teachers. 43% of teachers leave within the first five years.
But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story.
“Utah is unique in that teachers coming into the profession sometimes leave to be moms at home after they’ve been here for a few years,” said Bollinger. “We do have teachers who then come back. We call them boomerang teachers who are with us at the beginning, choose to stay home, and then they come back to the profession.”