OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Sylika Camacho watches her kids while simultaneously working from home now. But before she got into the digital design world, Camacho was a teacher for nearly a decade. “You know they don’t do it for the money. They definitely don't do it for the money, but they do it for the love they have for the kids,” Camacho said.
Camacho said it was a hard decision to make, but she quit last year in part, because of COVID. At the moment, Osceola County has 380 instructional classroom vacancies. This summer, to help fill the gap, the school district contracted a recruiting company that will help bring in educators from Latin America.
Camacho is not fond of the idea. “I definitely think what bothers me the most is the idea that there are so many eligible teachers who are here within the district,” she explained.
Osceola County School Board member Terry Castillo said the first strategy is always to recruit locally, but they’re also excited to bring in some teachers from different countries to help fill the gap.
“There is no guarantee that because we have this contract, we have to hire a specific number of teachers that come from this program,” Castillo expressed. “We have it as an available program for us. They still have to go through the same exact process that any teacher would have to go through.”
Castillo said that because over 60 percent of the school population is Hispanic, it makes sense to target Spanish-speaking teachers.
When it comes to hiring, Camacho said she would love to see the district appoint an advisory task force made up of teachers. “Students should be the top priority of the district,” Camacho added. “And in order to find out what the kids need, we need to hear from the voices that are in the classroom.”
This is not a new move for Osceola schools. In the past, they have contracted companies to focus on hiring educators from the Philippines.