New club for students to explore careers in teaching

Shawn Heavlin-Martinez

One of the newest clubs at Saddleback College is the Future Teachers Club, which was founded at the beginning of spring semester. Club members hope that students will be able to use the club to learn more about teaching. The club will hold its first general meeting on Thursday at 7p.m. in Student Services Center Room 212.

“We’re a new club. We just started, so we’re all charter members. About 40 or 50 people have signed up, so we’ll get a crowd on Thursday,” said Club President John Belleci, 45, history. “Hopefully people will be interested in this club, even though it’s pretty late in the semester.”

Club advisor Jennifer Forster, a Saddleback counselor, said that the club was created because of students constantly seeking information about teaching careers.

“Students that are interested in teaching could use an information center at Saddleback,” Forster said. “There’s a lot of information on how to become a teacher floating around, and we thought it would be a great idea if there was a club where potential teachers could meet other potential teachers and learn more about career opportunities at the same time.”

The number of available teaching jobs has become few and far between recently, thanks in part to the poor economy. Several districts, including the local Capistrano Unified School District, have been forced to lay off several employees as funding grows thin. In addition, many veteran teachers who were planning on retiring have been forced to work longer, as many of their savings evaporated overnight. All this eliminates many positions for new teachers looking for work.

Forster, however, says that students just now entering teaching programs are in a prime position.

“As an advisor and as a counselor at Saddleback, talking to our colleagues at the four-year universities, a lot of teachers are getting ready to retire,” Forster said. “So, in fact, students that start their training now are in an excellent position.”

“There’s also a large demand for special-needs teachers. There’s a lot of opportunity, if you know where to look,” said Club Vice-President Dennis Frayne, 25, music. “Also, this is a great chance for students to become charter members in the club.”

The club’s first meeting will also be a “movie night.”

“We’ll be showing Freedom Writers,” Belleci said. “You can also get a slice of pizza and soda for a dollar. We’re hopeful that anyone interested in becoming a teacher will check the club out.”

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