On Monday, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) along with the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) launched their newest initiative, Teach Today, Change Tomorrow, to attract the best and brightest students/adults to become teachers in the state of Tennessee. The goal is to insure a “great teacher in every classroom.”
Joining SCORE CEO Jamie Woodson was TDOE Commissioner, Candice McQueen, Representative Harold Love, and Metro Nashville’s (MNPS) teacher of the year, Cicely Woodard. Even though Tennessee does not have a teacher shortage in every area, they do lack certified teachers in STEM, Special Education, World Languages and English Language Learners (ELLs). Recruiting teachers in these areas along with an emphasis to recruit “students of color” to become educators is the focus of this initiative.
Representative Harold Love stated that while 35% of Tennessee students were students of color, that only 15% of Tennessee teachers were teachers of color. To encourage more young adults of color to attend state Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs), the TDOE is offering grants to EPPs and to districts that will encourage the training and hiring of educators of color.
Another facet of SCORE’s Teach Today, Change Tomorrow campaign is the Ambassador Program. Some of Tennessee’s finest educators are going throughout the state to share why they are dedicated to teaching and how they can change lives. It is the desire that the Ambassador Program will encourage young people to become teachers and make a difference in their state/nation/world. Ambassador Cicely Woodard is an 8th grade math teachers who states “I teach because kids in Tennessee deserve teachers who will support, champion and live for them.”
Woodard states she has also found many opportunities to become a “teacher-leader” as she facilitates professional learning and has an open door for student-teachers and others to observe her classroom. As a teacher-leader, she knows she has the impact to not only change the lives of her students, but those of her colleagues and community.
To find out how you can be more involved in the Teach Today, Change Tomorrow initiative, please go to their website www.teachtodaytn.org and follow them on Twitter @teachtodaytn.
## Bethany Bowman is the director of Professional Learning at the Professional Educators of Tennessee.