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New platform aims to help Tennessee job-seeking teachers

By Nadia Ramlagan, TN Public News Service

The coronavirus pandemic has altered the teacher recruitment and hiring process, and to help connect school districts with job seekers, the state has created an online platform to speed things up.

It’s called the Tennessee Teacher Jobs Connection.

Commissioner Penny Schwinn with the state Department of Education says teachers now can submit their information online and have it sent directly to districts with openings. She says she hopes the platform will aid rural areas, which struggled to recruit educators even before the pandemic.

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“We know in our rural communities it can be more challenging to find teachers, especially in those hard-to-staff positions of science, and math and special education,” Schwinn states. “And so, when you think about making sure every child has access to an excellent education, if they don’t have that critical teacher in the building, then our rural schools and communities are having to move teachers around.”

Schwinn says all 147 districts in the state will receive submissions from job candidates on a weekly basis. Interested schools will then contact applicants directly to discuss opportunities and request more information.

Traditionally, Schwinn says, job-seekers had to search for schools with openings and travel to those locations, which is now a less likely option with social distancing requirements.

Teachers can bypass those steps using the Jobs Connection.

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“It allows teachers to get their information to districts, and districts to know which teachers are available to make hiring a lot more efficient, especially in this digital and distance format,” Schwinn points out.

Tennessee currently employs more than 65,000 public school teachers, and hires hundreds of new educators and staff each year.

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