Catholic schools seek retirees, 'career changers' to address teacher shortage

BRAINTREE -- With the new school year just weeks away, the Catholic Schools Office has put out a call for applicants for positions as teachers of all grade levels in the archdiocese's schools. This campaign comes as public and private schools across the country face a shortage of teachers.

Thomas Carroll, the archdiocese's superintendent of schools, explained that many teachers have left their jobs, a phenomenon he attributes to the intensity of the coronavirus pandemic over the last few years. He said Catholic schools already had a relatively lower number of teachers compared with public school districts.

In their search for teaching candidates, the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) is willing to consider retirees and "career changers" who can bring their prior experience to different school subjects.

Potential teachers could be retired college professors, former homeschooling parents, parishioners involved in youth ministry, or parishioners with experience in the arts, business, or science.

"We're hoping we get some people who are looking to come off the bench for a year or two as we work through the shortage," Carroll said, speaking to The Pilot on Aug. 16.

Teachers do not necessarily need to commit to the entire academic year or a full course load. They can sign on for just one semester or take on a single course. Substitute teachers are also needed, as the shortage has affected their ranks too, Carroll said.

Carroll also explained that, unlike public school districts, the Catholic schools do not require teacher certification, so it is easier for them to consider "unlikely candidates." However, all candidates are subject to CORI background checks and will need to complete the Archdiocese's Protecting God's Children training.

"We're super open to ideas, and we're willing to be really flexible," he said.

The schools particularly need teachers for math, science, technology, and engineering. Carroll said teachers of these subjects are difficult to find because they are in high demand.

Since the Catholic schools serve many immigrant communities, they are also seeking teachers who can speak languages other than English, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Mandarin, or French Creole.

"What we're trying to do over time is to get more and more people in the schools that speak the languages spoken by the parents. The kids usually speak English, but it's really important that our schools have strong relationships with the parents," Carroll said.

He said that people with an interest in teaching who speak another language can do almost any job in a school while also helping communicate with students' parents.

"Having the language skills and understanding the culture of any of the immigrant populations we serve would be a huge asset for us," Carroll said.

Clergy and religious are being asked to promote the campaign to recruit teachers in the communities they serve. Carroll expressed hope that the people in the pews will either apply themselves or encourage people they know to apply.

"There's a lot of talent in the archdiocese. We just need to grab some of it to help us with the teacher shortage," he said.

Those interested in teaching can visit to apply for positions in the archdiocesan schools.