Mayra Lara has been laid off three times and bounced among high schools during her seven-year teaching career in the Los Angeles school district. Concerned about once again losing her job, she moved in with a friend and hunted for work outside of teaching two years ago.
"I was so worried about long-term job security I started to think about leaving the profession I desperately love," she recalled.
But Ms. Lara stuck it out and now is part of what some call a new generation of teachers. She began her career in 2007 along with about 200,000 others—one of the largest groups of beginners to join public schools in a single year.