NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – School is right around the corner for many public school students, but some districts are still looking to fill teaching positions.
Metro Nashville Public Schools has 140 openings, mostly for math and special education teachers.
“Many of our schools are fully staffed and those that are not will have plans to cover for any teacher position that they’re still needing to fill,” said Communications Director Olivia Brown.
Metro says readjustments are common at the start of a new school year but they don’t want to disturb student learning. They may need to combine classrooms or provide substitute teachers for certain subjects.
“No matter how many students we have this year we’ll be ready to receive them,” Brown said.
This week alone, Metro Schools expects 2,000 students will enroll or transfer within the school district.
The Metropolitan Nashville Education Association (MNEA) says there is a nationwide teacher shortage, and Davidson County isn’t immune.
President Dr. Erick Huth says there are fewer people going into education nowadays. He also says there also more federal, state and local demands upon teachers and teacher salaries aren’t keeping up.
“The cost of living has increased and salaries have stayed stagnant,” Dr. Huth told News 2. “It’s caused more people to look elsewhere.”
He says teachers in Nashville are also faced with a high cost of living.
“There are new teachers that come to town and they’ll share apartments,” according Dr. Huth. “Two, three or four teachers are sometimes in one apartment just to make ends meet. It’s one of the reasons why MNPS needs to take a long-term look at fixing the salary problem for teachers.”
Metro Schools says it has about an 80 percent retention rate. That means in a school district with about 6,000 teachers, about 1,200 teachers leave each year. Half of those teachers leave after only a year or two of teaching.
This year, the school district is trying new strategies to recruit and retain teachers.
Brown says they’re providing teacher training, they’ve bumped up salaries by 3 percent, and Metro has opened a wellness center for teachers, which includes a Vanderbilt health clinic, cafe, and gym.
“We want to give our teachers the training and the opportunity to grow professionally,” said Brown. “So all those different strategies come into play when we start looking to keep our really good teachers that we’ve hired.”
Metro says it needs math and special education teachers the most. To apply for a position with Metro Schools, click here to fill out an application.
As for other counties around Middle Tennessee, Williamson County needs about 50 teachers, especially special education and foreign language teachers. Rutherford and Sumner counties also have teacher openings. Wilson County says it is fully staffed.