Jeffrey Wells' article "Blackboard Bungle" {Outlook, Sept. 2} should be required daily reading for all involved in the hiring of teachers. The experiences of Mr. Wells and his friends in attempting to find teaching positions is not unique. The old saw, "it's not what you know but who you know," describes the manner in which hiring is done in the local school systems.

When I applied for a social studies position in the various local jurisdictions, I was informed by authorities that despite a teacher shortage my chances of being hired were slim because of my experience (seven years) and my education (MA in history). However, if I was willing to volunteer or substitute and thereby become a known "commodity" maybe, in a couple of years, I might get hired. Of course, there was no guarantee, and there would be no recognition of my work as a volunteer or a substitute in salary consideration should I secure employment.

Let me say I did not then and do not now feel that I am "God's gift" to the teaching profession. What I wanted, like Mr. Wells, was a chance to make a difference. The indifference of the local bureaucracies has indeed kept many from exercising their talents. Few people have the financial resources to serve as unpaid or low-paid help in the hope of getting a teaching position. If local systems were truly concerned with the quality of teachers they would take immediate steps to overhaul their hiring policies. I will not hold my breath waiting. CATHERINE SCHILDKNECHT Mount Airy, Md.

Jeffrey Wells, hit the nail on the head as far as the difficulty that one encounters in finding a teaching position in this area. I recently moved here from New York where I had permanent certification and more than three years of teaching experience. I hoped to secure a position teaching high school English around here. I'm still hoping.

I filed applications at private and public schools. I had references sent here from past schools, transcripts from my college and test scores from the National Teachers Exam. I've had a few interviews, all in private schools. I am a capable, caring, energetic teacher who still does not have a job. I want to teach.

What will happen when the system drives away those who want to teach? The system will suffer because once potential teachers find jobs elsewhere, they may be lost to the school systems. Please let's see what can be done to help those who want to teach to become teachers. LORRAINE STRANDBERG Alexandria