Photo courtesy Woodleywonderworks / Flickr

Friends are sitting around a campfire when a man asks the woman next to him about her job.

“It was fourth period biology, Phoebe was gnawing on a brain, Anna was hissing like a feral cat,” she said.

Her camping peers are frozen stiff as she continues to describe a fictional zombie apocalypse in her classroom that claimed every human — part of a sketch to illustrate to her students how viruses spread.

It’s all in an ad with the tagline: “Teachers have better work stories.”

The scene is from a public service video ad that’s part of a new campaign to attract more students and others to teaching careers as California grapples with a teaching shortage. There are two ads – with more on the way — featuring teachers talking about their jobs and why they enjoy teaching.

The campaign is a collaboration between the California Center on Teaching CareersTEACH, a nonprofit which promotes teaching and the Ad Council, a nonprofit that produces and distributes campaigns on “significant public issues.” Their plan is to air public service advertisements on television and radio. The campaign will also appear on social media and billboards.

Ad Council is in the process of placing the ads with its media partners.

The center, created last year with $9.4 million in state funds, aims to reverse the recent trend of teachers exiting the workforce and students looking past the career altogether. Enrollment in the state’s teacher preparation programs has declined more than 70 percent over the past decade, according to the Learning Policy Institute. Another institute study found that 75 percent of districts in 2016 were experiencing teacher shortages, particularly in math, science, special education and bilingual positions.

Some regions in the state have shortages beyond those disciplines. “In the Central Valley, the demand for elementary teachers is as great as special ed, math and science,” said Donna Glassman-Sommer, executive director of the center.

“But I think the overall message out there is to really think about elevating the profession of teaching and to really look at inspiring individuals to come into the field of education and think about it as an honorable career,” she said.

The second ad in the campaign shows a teacher describing how he got through to a student struggling with fractions. “I created a combat math game where the only way to beat the enemy is to out-fraction them. [The student] conquered every last one of them.”

The teacher then turns to his companion and asks how her day went.

“Today, my boss treated the office to salad wraps.”

The partners are covering the costs of producing the ads. “The Ad Council is also leveraging their connections to secure donated airtime, which we expect to bring the value of our initial PSA campaign to millions of dollars,” Glassman-Sommer said.

In addition to the ad campaigns, the center in the spring will host an online jobs fair to connect interested candidates with local school employers.

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  1. maria 7 months ago7 months ago

    1. Give teachers a title: i.e. Jennifer Smith, CT (or) LT —Certified Teacher or Licensed Teacher.
    2. The Philosophy for Bilingual Ed. in Washington (where no one is Bilingual) is wrong. Begin teaching all students 10 minutes of the foreign language, and increase only a little bit. This way they all are immersed in English, and get to learn a Second language — win/win.

  2. Paul Murphy 7 months ago7 months ago

    Let’s try every possible way to encourage more young people to become teachers and more teachers to stay in their jobs except the ways every other industry tries to make jobs more attractive.

  3. John Smith 7 months ago7 months ago

    This kind of marketing has a good chance of not working on Millennials, the Y, and Z generations. In general, the Millennials and younger want lots of job flexibility and respect. Not a common characteristic of the education profession in California. Treating teachers as professionals takes no money and needs to be done. Cutting class sizes in California to 15-20 students, as in other states, would go a long way. More support … Read More

    This kind of marketing has a good chance of not working on Millennials, the Y, and Z generations. In general, the Millennials and younger want lots of job flexibility and respect. Not a common characteristic of the education profession in California.
    Treating teachers as professionals takes no money and needs to be done. Cutting class sizes in California to 15-20 students, as in other states, would go a long way. More support for special education would be wonderful too. A statewide campaign on how to be great parents and support learning and teachers would be a better use of funds too. Perhaps the clash of generations will be a good thing. Maybe the youth will force the state politicians to stop keeping teacher salaries artificially low. Turn on cable television shows or radio shows and you will often hear a pundit or politician say that education should be run like a business. In that case, let us do so. Teachers should be able to go to any other school district at any point in their careers and not have to start at the bottom of the pay scale in that other district. Or maybe the politicians will simply have computers and robots take over the profession. A common misconception is that teachers have “tenure”, thus they are imagined to be lazy, kicking back with their feet on desks all day, smoking cigars. Or in California, something else. However, teachers do not have tenure. Teachers have due process to ensure they are legally protected in case, and when, students or parents falsely accuse them of abuse or being malicious with grades. The other need for due process is to encourage teachers to be assertive with administrators that may be asking them to do illegal, unprofessional acts, or hindering them from getting students tested for special services.
    Yes, there is a percentage of people in teaching that should not be there as with any profession. Yet, that is the fault of principals not doing their jobs to coach those teachers to be better or fire them. Often principals let their friendships with teachers cloud their judgement or too often principals manage schools with bleeding hearts. When we stop with the Jesusification of teachers, then we can make some progress in recruitment. See https://goo.gl/MPbcBH.

    Replies

    • maria 7 months ago7 months ago

      Who is the man behind the mask —John Smith. You are my hero!

  4. Matt Moran 7 months ago7 months ago

    No fancy marketing slogans are going to solve the “ teacher shortage.” Teachers need to be paid like police, fire, and correctional officers. Teachers lose tenure protections but society gains by attracting the best and the brightest to educate our children. It’s a win-win scenario. The only “loser” is the teacher that does not deserve to be in the classroom. In California we will pay for this by a five year phase in plan … Read More

    No fancy marketing slogans are going to solve the “ teacher shortage.” Teachers need to be paid like police, fire, and correctional officers. Teachers lose tenure protections but society gains by attracting the best and the brightest to educate our children. It’s a win-win scenario. The only “loser” is the teacher that does not deserve to be in the classroom. In California we will pay for this by a five year phase in plan funded by eliminating the high-speed rail project and a reduction in social welfare programs.

  5. Diana Alba 7 months ago7 months ago

    I wish there was more in-depth information out there as to the true reason why there may be a teacher shortage. I have been in this profession for over 10 years and have been bounced around due to layoffs and lack of fulltime opportunity. Those are the real reasons why teachers have left the profession or refuse to enter the profession. I wouldn't advise my children to enter this profession knowing what … Read More

    I wish there was more in-depth information out there as to the true reason why there may be a teacher shortage. I have been in this profession for over 10 years and have been bounced around due to layoffs and lack of fulltime opportunity. Those are the real reasons why teachers have left the profession or refuse to enter the profession. I wouldn’t advise my children to enter this profession knowing what I know now. It’s really sad.