International Teachers Fill Arizona Teacher Vacancies

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In the midst of a teacher shortage in Arizona, Andrea Locsin, moved across the world to lend a helping hand. 


Andrea Locsin, 28, moved from Bacolod City, Philippines to Tuscon, Arizona where she teaches special education at Magee Middle School. 


A fellow teacher who has also relocated from the Philippines to teach in Arizona told Loscin that Arizona schools were desperate for teachers and were offering good wages to international educators. Locsin took the opportunity to teach overseas immediately. 


“One of the biggest reasons I relocated was for the pay,” Locsin said.


In the Philippines, Locsin was only making around $400 a month. Now, Locsin makes around the average salary for a teacher in Tuscon which is $42,000. 


Locsin saves her money and sends it back home to her three children and her other family members, who she left all behind when she relocated in July 2019. 


Moving here all by herself was not an easy task. 


“I miss my family a lot, especially my kids, it’s hard being away from them,” Locsin said. 


Although Locsin doesn’t have her immediate family with her, she was able to make a family with the other teachers from the Philippines that are employed at her school.


However hard it was for Locsin to make such a drastic life change she feels like it has been “a huge blessing.” 


She lives with four other Filipina women that work at Magee Middle School in order to save money. They have family-style meals and carpools to work together. 


These women aren’t the only internationally sourced teachers in Arizona. 


Schools have begun outsourcing teachers in order to fill the vacancies that licensed educators in Arizona aren’t filling. 


The classroom vacancies in Arizona have continued to increase since 2014 due to a lack of support for educators, education funding, and appropriate salaries. 


According to the State Department of Education, there are close to 1,500 teacher vacancies across the state. 


The State Department claims that the number of international teachers in American classrooms has increased by 50% since 2014. 


For those that choose to relocate, they must obtain J-1 visas prior. This visa allows educators to work in the United States as long as they meet a set of standard requirements. 


According to the State Department, these visas can cost up to $8,000 to receive. 


2019 is Locsin’s first year teaching in the U.S, but it marks her ninth-year teaching. 


Acclimating to a different teaching style and classroom behavior has been difficult for Locsin. 


“It’s been challenging adjusting to the many changes in school here, but I’m still adjusting and I’m always thinking about the positive of the jobs,” Locsin said. 

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