MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — The need for more teachers is something school districts across the country are dealing with.

When Rebecca Murphy decided to teach over ten years ago she started out with high school students, but now she’s swapped students for teachers.

“We start in the summers before the school year even starts,” she said. “They walk in the door with a very thorough well thought out plan, and they’re ready to go as soon as their students are in front of them.”

In 2018 Rutherford County Schools approached Murphy about creating a program designed to help those interested in teaching.  

The program officially launched in 2019 as the Rutherford County School’s Educator Preparation Provider program. The district says they became the first in Tennessee to operate a program like this that was approved by the Tennessee Department of Education.

The program has since rebranded to Teach Now and is designed to help those wanting to teach get in the classroom, all while offering courses by the district to earn their license.  

“So instead of welcoming a teacher with keys and a textbook and saying, ‘Here you go, enjoy,’ we really are training them step by step through what it takes to start the year,” Murphy said. “We call it the ‘just in time approach’ for our curriculum.”  

Ray Patrick spent over 35 years working for an automotive seeding company before he retired to be a full-time minister.  

However, he wanted to give back to the youth, so he signed up to teach construction courses for the district.

“It was kind of an eye-opener when I got in the classroom and realized there’s more to it and I need something,” he said. “This gives me what I need.”  

Patrick not only enjoys being in the classroom, but bonding and mentoring students.  

“I feel like I’ve built some great relationships with some of these students, and that’s huge to me,” he said. “I’m a people person so that’s huge to me to have these relationships.”  

This program is approved to work with those looking for a license in math and science courses, and career and technical education courses.  

Fifty people have already graduated since the program’s inception, but Murphy knows something like this is helpful in bringing in and retaining teachers for the district.  

“Now if I can help prepare teachers that all work with 100 or 150 students a day, the reach and the benefit of the outcomes for our students is just that much more improved,” she said.

If a candidate without a teaching license wants to apply for an open position, has industry experience in that subject area or a bachelor’s degree but doesn’t have a teaching license, they can apply for the job anyway.

If they are offered the job, they can then enter the Teach Now program to begin teaching immediately while earning their license.

The RCS Teach Now program is approved to work with candidates who need a teaching license for math and science courses covering grades 6-12 and for any Career and Technical Education course.

The district will be holding two open houses to attract and enroll candidates for the upcoming school year.  

The first will be June 30 at Rock Springs Middle School in Smyrna, and the second will be July 11 at the Rutherford County School’s Central Office in Murfreesboro. Both open houses will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Those interested can also contact Murphy who is a Teach Now specialist at 615-893-5812 ext. 22163 or via email at murphyr@rcschools.net.