Teach901 hits the recruiting trail to combat Memphis teacher shortage

With school winding down and another summer nearly upon us, Teach901, an umbrella recruiting and retention campaign for Memphis' priority schools, is now ramping up their efforts to hire new teachers for the 2023-24 academic year. There's a teacher shortage in Memphis, the organization attests, and they've made it their mission to help fill in the gaps. The recruitment campaign, first launched in 2013, is driven by the City Leadership nonprofit organization.

Teach901 makes the search for Memphis education jobs simple. Just visit Teach901.com to see for yourself.

In order to find out more, I recently had a chance to ask Teach901 Coordinator April Pruett some questions about this concerted effort to bolster the local workforce.

High Ground News: Why is there such a teacher shortage right now? 
Teach901 Coordinator April Pruett. (Source: City Leadership)
April Pruett: I think there are many factors leading to the teacher shortage we are facing, (with) pay being the leading factor. I also think with the amount of well-paying remote/flexible office jobs, being in a school building for nine hours a day isn't as appealing as it once was.

HGN: What is Teach901 doing to recruit more teachers? 

AP: We utilize the Teach901 website as our main recruiting tool. Part of the website is a job portal that allows candidates to create a profile, upload their resume, and search open teaching positions that we have posted. We are also hosting monthly job fairs for our schools, rotating between virtual and in-person. Lastly, (we're) planning giveaways for teachers in hopes that people will see how much Memphis teachers are loved and supported.

HGN: Are some teachers rethinking their career choices because of the COVID-19 pandemic? 

AP: I am sure the answer is yes for some, but I wouldn't say it is the main reason for the career changes we are seeing.

HGN: How are you going about finding potential teachers? 

AP: We are using every resource we have! Social media platforms, LinkedIn, Handshake, visiting local colleges and universities, radio ads should be starting this week, hosting job fairs, and not leaving a cent in our marketing budget. 

HGN: Are you recruiting outside of Memphis? 

AP: Yes! We've pulled data to see where most of our web traffic is coming from outside of Memphis and are targeting those areas really hard. We have also found great success with cities within an 8-hour driving distance to us, and HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). 

HGN: What else would like to say about this effort? 

AP: Teachers are the backbone of our society. They are the ones teaching our future pharmacists the periodic table and mechanics how to spell the word radiator. They carry the burdens of their students and sometimes end up on the wrong side of a bad day. 90 percent of what they do every day was never taught to them in school and yet they continue to show up and love and care for students. They deserve to be celebrated as much as any athlete or superstar. 

Visit Teach901.com to learn more about Memphis job openings in the field of education.
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Read more articles by Jeff Hulett.

Originally from Chicago, Jeff moved to Memphis in 1990 not really knowing much about the south. In fact, the first week he lived here he was suspended from school for not saying, "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am." Jeff has since developed a passion for Memphis and especially Memphis music. A member of several bands including Snowglobe and Me & Leah, Jeff works as a communications consultant with many non-profits including Playback Memphis, Church Health, Room in the Inn-Memphis and BLDG Memphis. Jeff lives in the Vollintine Evergreen neighborhood with his wife and two daughters.