College of Education
A GROW YOUR OWN INITIATIVE
By 2025 we will face a shortage of over 200,000 teachers across the nation.
Tennessee Tech’s College of Education is rolling out a strategic recruitment and expedited pathways initiative to increase
the number of people pursuing teaching as a profession to better address district
especially in high demand areas.
School districts are the largest employers in most communities,
and leveraging these strong, existing assets will help to make the
Additional statewide data comes from the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents (TOSS) 2019 Tennessee Teacher Shortage Survey.
Based on responses from 133 superintendents:
79 districts began the school year with unfilled teaching positions;
71 districts currently (11/20/19) have unfilled teaching positions;
630 total vacancies reported.
Areas with the highest number of vacancies:
128 in Special Education
103 in Elementary Education (grades 4-8)
90 in Mathematics
Specific Upper Cumberland School Districts (14 counties):
10 districts began the school year with unfilled teaching positions;
9 districts currently have unfilled teaching positions;
35 total vacancies reported.
Areas with the highest number of vacancies:
7 in Elementary Education (grades K-3)
7 in Mathematics
5 in Elementary Education (grades 4-8)
College of Education Expedited Opportunities
for Current and Future Teachers
- Add-on Endorsements (ESL, MSSC, SPED)
One way to maximize current district resources is to offer expedited pathways for teachers to add endorsements in high-demand areas such as math, science, special education, and ESL (English as a Second Language).
We have simplified the steps to add an endorsement to a current teaching license. The goal is to collaborate with our partner districts to identify high need areas in their schools and encourage strong teachers to add endorsements to help meet those needs.
- Early Post-Secondary Opportunities: High School Students
Over the past few years, we’ve worked closely with our district partners to foster "Grow Your Own" (GYO) initiatives with a specific focus on early post-secondary opportunities (EPSOs) for high school students interested in teaching such as dual enrollment and dual credit.
The early connections with education coursework are seen as a way for teachers to encourage their best and brightest students to pursue education pathways early in their high school careers, and it’s a way for students to engage and become confident in choosing teaching as a profession.
Additionally, we’ve partnered with over 20 schools across the state to visit Teaching as a Profession (TAP) classrooms as well as host those TAP students via campus visits to introduce them to the college classroom experience, campus resources, and help build their knowledge and skills related to state curriculum standards and licensure requirements.
- Teachers as Recruiters
We are initiating a campaign to invite teachers to serve as recruiters for the teaching profession, and we want to help them understand the impact of their positive influence on secondary students.
Middle school and high school teachers spend a significant amount of time with their students, and they are in an ideal position to observe students’ skills and potential to become strong educators.
Additionally, teachers have the opportunity to create a strong, positive narrative around the profession. Through early identification and encouragement, teachers will play a critical role in helping districts grow their own educators and build a robust pool of high-quality teachers.
- Collaborative Residency Opportunities
Teacher assistants include a great pool of teacher potential, including individuals who have expressed interest and demonstrated experience in the profession.
Our plan is to help districts identify teacher assistants who are interested in pursuing initial licensure, then collaborate on financial and educational support to help the teacher assistants reach that goal and ultimately fill unmet needs within their school systems.
Additionally, we’d like to partner with districts to identify employment opportunities for traditional candidates in years three and four of their undergraduate education. These candidates would receive support from both the EPP and the district and transition from non-certified to certified positions upon graduation.