MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- There are more than 250 open spots for teachers and we’re just over a week away from the start of school in Shelby County.
The numbers were presented this week in a school readiness presentation.
In an academic committee meeting earlier this week Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson said they have 257 teacher openings.
School Board Chairman Chris Caldwell said the shortage we’re seeing is not unique to Shelby County.
"Nationally there's a shortage of teachers and certainly in different subjects, science is one of the tough ones to fill," said Caldwell.
People we talked to have their opinions for the shortage.
"A lot of times the teachers have to be the parent as well when the kids come to school. The parents are supposed to take care of their stuff at home and the teacher is supposed to just teach but instead, the teacher got to teach and parent and they should be paid a whole lot more money," explained Memphian Eva Cotton.
Caldwell said the district has recently seen a lot of retirement over the last few years.
"I think that here locally you have seven school districts so that’s competitive.”
He also said not as many people are getting into the profession, acknowledging the pressures standardized testing brings.
Superintendent Hopson said the district is 96% staffed which is better than where the district has been at this time in past years.
"They are pushing principals to hire people, not to wait for the specific person in the interim but to have all the buildings fully staffed and if we don’t have enough teachers saying science or those other areas that are hard to fill we’ll aggressively do that over the course of the year.”
During the year the district is working to recruit teachers with Teach for America and the Memphis Teacher Residency Program.
"And we’re trying to take people that didn’t have an education background but have degrees and see if they want to be in the teaching profession," said Caldwell.
On the other side of the classroom, the district said they’ve seen an increase in registration compared to this time last year.
So far there’s more than 41,000 registered, compared to around 33,400 last year.
Caldwell commended their work.
"I think the efforts the district has made, they did some creative things they actually registered kids at the zoo so they found other venues where they might be able to get to kids over the summer time.”