Rookie teacher excited for a new year

Last year when sixth-grader Vivienne Becker told her dad about her classes at Hinson Middle School, that three of them were regularly meeting in a cafeteria setting because of a shortage of teachers, he took action.

“Instead of complaining, I wanted to be part of the solution,” Joseph Becker said.

He gave up a full-time job as a restaurant manager to take a lower-paying position as an English language arts teacher at Hinson in January. And now he’s starting his first full year as a middle school teacher, one example of what education leaders hope will inspire others to resolve the national teacher shortage — the National Education Association estimates US schools are looking for nearly 300,000 educators.

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And even as Volusia County Schools face another year of juggling around teacher vacancies, Becker, 51, of Ormond Beach, says he’s invigorated with his preparation for Monday’s start of school.

Joseph Becker, a teacher at Hinson Middle School in Daytona Beach, was inspired to change careers when he learned of a teacher shortage at his daughter's school.

“Every year is full of hope,” he said. “You get to start again, and this time it’s going to be better.”

As of Aug. 8, Volusia County was still looking for 124 elementary school teachers, 65 middle school teachers and 44 high school teachers, plus another 20 educators in other district roles.

Mark West, chief of human resources, told the school board that the district is also looking to hire 84 paraprofessionals after having added 16 over the previous two weeks.

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