Teacher retainment is a challenge for some Middle Tennessee school districts, especially for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) classes.
Ben Schumacher knows all to well the challenges most educators face and why some districts are seeing a teacher shortage.
“One is just pay, if we could pay our teachers better they would stay around longer. That’s just a personal sustainability thing,” he said.
He also cites a lack of ongoing support and development as well as specific school leadership as to why some teachers decide to leave or not return.
“It’s easier to keep teachers engaged when they feel like they’re growing,” Schumacher explained.
He now serves as the executive director for Teach for America. The organization specializes in recruiting new teachers and relies heavily on their partnerships with institutions and community groups to find a diverse pool of future employees. However, convincing young adults can also be a challenge.
“That is very hard to do and it costs a lot of money to pull it off,” said Schumacher.
Several school districts we spoke to agree, the biggest challenge comes when trying to find teachers to fill high school STEM classrooms or special education classrooms.
Schumacher has this to say for those thinking about a career in education, “it is hard, every day is a challenge and there is nothing more fulfilling for the heart, both for you and when done well, for your students.”
You can find out more about which districts are in need of teachers on the Teach for America website.