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A Tiny School District Reaches Far and Wide for New Teachers

Superintendent and principal Shila Adolf says she used to get American applications for at least elementary teacher positions, but “now we just don’t get applications, period.”

So a few years ago she turned to foreign teachers. The immigration paperwork can be intense, but Adolf says she understands it’s to ensure that a U.S. resident isn’t losing out on a job. Bethune isn’t the only town doing this. The federal government approved nearly 3,000 visas for foreign teachers in 2014.

There are challenges, like helping students get used to a teacher’s accent. For Adolf, though, it has been a positive experience. “It seems like all of the teachers that I have hired from out of the country have a high level of perseverance,” she describes. “They have either come from scenarios or situations that they don’t want for their own families, or they’ve taught somewhere where they felt they weren’t valued or appreciated.”