Metro Schools will rely on adjunct instructors this year to teach subjects ranging from algebra to bluegrass and mariachi. It’s the district’s foray into hiring on a course-by-course basis.
A Knoxville-based non-profit called Distinguished Professionals Education Institute is working with schools in Nashville and trying to fill 33 classes with experts. They either have to be retired teachers or have a degree and experience in the appropriate field. More than half the courses are in music as part of a wider effort led by Mayor Karl Dean to beef up music education. The rest are in subjects like Spanish and geometry.
While universities increasingly turn to adjuncts as a cost-saving measure, the organization’s executive director – Bob Thomas – says the idea is not to replace career teachers.
“If a district were to say, ‘well, we need four periods of this or six periods of this at our school,’ then we would say you really ought to hire a full-time teacher.”
The state is encouraging districts to consider adjuncts. It’s offering to cover part of the cost through money from the Race to the Top program. The courses just have to be in math, science or foreign languages.
The Challenge of Finding Music Teachers
It’s been harder to find music teachers in “Music City” than Metro Schools would have thought.Bob Thomas says the problem is finding musicians with formal training.
“Had some interest from some folks with music backgrounds, but part of what we’re running into is folks not having a bachelor’s or a master’s degree.”
The positions require a college degree and 10 years of experience in the field. Those who’ve never taught before are required to take a 50-hour training course.
Click here for a full list of courses for which Metro is seeking adjunct teachers.