Ad campaign uses humorous take on every day classroom scenarios to promote teaching as a career
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
TULARE COUNTY – A new media blitz to help recruit teachers in California will be hitting TV, radio and social media this year, and it was coordinated by education leaders right here in Tulare County.
A public service announcement (PSA) campaign to recruit teachers is being spearheaded by the California Center on Teaching Careers (the Center). After 15 years of addressing teacher shortages in rural Tulare County, the Center is tasked with identifying best practices to address a statewide teacher shortage, while developing new strategies to attract teachers to the profession and connect them with high-quality training programs. In addition to the Center headquarters in Tulare County, the Center has established six regional presences through the Offices of Education in Los Angeles, Ventura, Sonoma, Shasta, Riverside, and San Diego Counties to help communities attract new teachers and connect them to local training programs.
The PSAs were developed through a partnership between the Center, teach.org and the Ad Council. The Ad Council brings together the most creative minds in advertising and media to address the most worthy causes. Its innovative, pro bono social good campaigns raise awareness. The comprehensive PSA campaign will reach audiences across California to demonstrate the benefits of teaching through storytelling.
“We need to continue to change public perception of the teaching profession,” said Donna Glassman-Sommer, executive director of the Center. “Leading a 21st century classroom is an incredibly engaging, dynamic and rewarding career opportunity, with plenty of room to be creative and inspire real change. By showing compelling examples and encouraging teachers to share their own stories, our goal is to start a dialogue about what being a teacher is really all about.”
The roughly one minute commercial spots take a humorous twist on every day classroom occurrences as teachers retell their stories of the day in overly dramatic detail. The first commercial titled “Teachers Have Better Work Stories” is a 51 second look at how a teacher turned a science lesson into a zombie outbreak. The second is a 61-second video titled “Find Out What It’s Like To Teach” where a teacher has flashback from his student’s battle with fractions. The PSA videos can be viewed at: bit.ly/CACenterVideos.
Glassman-Sommer said the humorous commercials are engaging and touching on the motivations for millennials, who care more about how they work than how much they make. If teaching isn’t exciting, interesting and rewarding than there are few people in the current workforce generation who will be interested in teaching. That’s a huge problem, she said, because previous generations are approaching retirement at record numbers while enrollment in teacher preparation programs in California remains near historic lows. Approximately 75 percent of California districts reported having a shortage of qualified teachers for the 2016–17 school year, particularly in math, science, bilingual and special education.
“Young people haven’t really been given an opportunity to explore what teaching is about,” Glassman-Sommer said. “We need to recruit differently than we have in the past.”
The campaign is part of the Center’s work to alleviate the teacher shortage. Recently launched with support from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and the state legislature, the Center is working on the ground in eight regions across the state to attract new teachers and help place and retain them in classrooms.
“The center is addressing the teacher shortage head-on with new, creative approaches,” said Mary Vixie Sandy, executive director of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. “This PSA campaign is just one piece of their overall work to attract more teachers and elevate the profession, and we’re excited about its potential to lead more people to seriously consider teaching as a career.”
The targeted, statewide campaign will continue through 2018. Each PSA in the campaign presents an exciting story of how a teacher found an innovative way to reach their students and help them understand the material at hand.
“This has to be a movement,” Glassman-Sommer said. “It can’t be isolated in a single human resource department or school district. The demand for teachers is serious and it is important that we all work together to prevent this severe shortage.”
The PSA campaign will directly lead candidates to the Center’s online personalized, virtual tool for finding information on different teaching pathways and enrolling in programs. Found at www.CaliforniaTeach.org, the tool will heavily support interested candidates in entering the profession.
In July 2017, the legislature finalized a budget trailer that designated $9.4 million for the Center to support teacher and school administrator preparation and induction programs through a series of grants in partnership with the CTC. Ranging from $100,000 to $1.25 million, the funding will support programs that promote professional development, preparation and recruitment among school leaders to further address the California teacher shortage over the next three years.
The California Center on Teaching Careers’ mission is to elevate the teaching profession through attracting new and existing talent to impact teaching and learning in California’s 21st Century classrooms. The Center was formed through $5 million teacher recruitment package within the State of California’s 2016-17 budget.
As a statewide body charged with solving California’s teacher shortage through collaborative leadership, the Center will also work to support innovative programs through future grants and sharing best practices. To learn more, visit CaliforniaTeach.org.