University students graduating from education programs will get a close look at teaching opportunities — and many will receive employment offers — during a series of job fairs at five Maritime universities during the next few weeks. The boards will interview candidates at Université Sainte-Anne on Wednesday, Jan. 11; at Mount Saint Vincent University on Saturday, Jan 14; at Acadia University on Wednesday, Jan. 18; at St. Francis Xavier University on Friday, Jan. 27; and at Université de Moncton on Wednesday, Feb. 8. “Early hiring job fairs help to keep our best new teachers at home in Nova Scotia,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “About one in four applicants received an offer of employment at last year’s job fairs.” The boards are particularly looking for mathematics, physics, technology education and French teachers but note that other specialties may also be needed. “Teaching is such a rewarding career; you mean so much to so many,” said Kelli Ross, who graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University in 2005. She is now teaching with the Halifax Regional School Board. “If it had not been for the early hiring job fair, I would probably still be looking for a job,” added Ms. Ross. “I feel the students benefit too, from having a teacher who grew up in the area where they live. It helps them realize they have options for future employment in their home province.” “I love what I do; there is an amazing joy in seeing understanding dawn in someone’s eyes. I really enjoy passing on what I know about mathematics,” said Carolyn Benedict, who graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University last year. “Simply talking to the human resources people from the boards at job fairs reassures graduating teachers that positions are available,” explained Ms. Benedict, who is now teaching with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. “Great teachers can make an informed decision to stay and work in the province and, as a result, the quality of education in our schools is higher.” Additional career opportunities can arise later in the year and the school boards could continue hiring until September. As well, the boards will continue to recruit full-time teachers from their existing rosters of term and substitute teachers. While the job fairs focus on new graduates at the five universities on the tour, opportunities exist for earlier and out-of-province graduates and they are encouraged to contact the school boards directly. Board contact information is available on the Department of Education website at www.ednet.ns.ca . At the job fairs, students also get a chance to meet the province’s registrar of teacher certification and representatives from the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, and the Nova Scotia Teachers Plus Credit Union.