The teacher shortage that Hawaii faces has gone viral.
According to the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE), "Poorly reported stories about our teacher recruitment efforts, which have gone viral, have resulted in thousands of job queries, many from candidates who do not meet the standards and qualifications required for Hawaii teachers."
Unqualified candidates include a hairdresser, a dentist, and several queries using very poor English skills or posted in a foreign language entirely.
20-25 applications a day were expected but the DOE received a whopping 633 last Monday alone on April 25th. So far at least 8,000 people from 98 countries have registered online with close to 5,000 completing applications. The DOE has had to pull extra staff in order to process the influx of applications, most which are disqualified according to Honolulu-based news station KHON.
Paradise versus reality
Hawaii has faced a chronic teacher shortage over the years and the state regularly scouts for new staff on the mainland. One of the reasons for the gap is a high turnover rate. Corey Rosenlee, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association explained to US News, "Hawaii has one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the nation, and this is more so for people that come from the mainland. They say, 'I can't live here' and they leave and we have to go back and recruit, and this cycle just continually happens."
Hawaii has a higher cost of living compared to the mainland and new teachers are often placed in rural areas where there is the greatest need and also the greatest difficulty adjusting.
The reality of living and working in Hawaii versus the vacation island fantasy is too much for most new teachers to bear.
The good news
If you are credentialed teacher who is qualified to work and live in the United States (most of our readers) and you're interested in working in Hawaii, then you still have a real opportunity.
The question then becomes, are you ready?
Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES USA on Twitter and like TES USA on Facebook.