Cave Creek school district reaching for teachers across the globe to solve shortage issue

Posted at 5:24 AM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 09:06:00-04

The Cave Creek Unified School District is reaching across the globe to solve the teacher shortage problem.

Cristina Ladas with the district has helped facilitate the hiring of these teachers. She says there just aren't enough candidates who are certified and can teach one of their language programs.

Currently, the district has teachers from Spain, France and China.

Wang Zhen is the Mandarin teacher from central China. As part of her curriculum, the classroom dialogue must be 90 percent Mandarin.

She and the other teachers are able to come and live through what's known as a J-1 visa, or teacher's visa.

The process is long and teachers can wait years to get approved. The candidates are vetted by their native country officials and then by U.S. officials.

Zhen is now in her second year of teaching. She struggled at first.

"I thought it was interesting in Chinese way-but they don't like it. So the second year after we understand each other, everything make it easy," she says.

The max she can stay is three years, then she must go back to China and do a presentation on what she learned teaching in an American school.

Ladas says this is all to get the children ready for a global economy.

"Our kids are competing now for jobs that are, they are competing with kids from China, from England, from Spain, from South America-I mean we're in a global market," she adds.

Ladas says the response from students and their parents has been positive and they hope to expand the district language programs in the future.