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Oklahoma’s teacher shortage currently looks like this: more than 1,000 emergency teacher certifications have been issued in Oklahoma during the 2016-17 school year with an estimated 50,000 students being taught by an emergency certified teacher.

Amidst the severe circumstances, some programs in the state are renewing efforts to recruit future teachers.

Teach Oklahoma, a teacher recruitment program that has served the state for 27 years in various iterations, recently revamped its curriculum for introducing high school juniors and seniors to the teaching profession through a year-long course.

“We have had great success with it over the years, so we’re pretty proud,” said Director of Teacher Education Goldie Thompson.

The first part of the year-long course is when students learn about teacher topics such as pedagogy, parent relations, brain development, the psychology of learning and more. During the second portion of the year, Teach Oklahoma students shadow current teachers and teach class lessons to younger grades.

American Board believes states and communities making efforts like Teach Oklahoma are crucial to ending the teacher shortage because, unfortunately, this honorable profession faces negative stigmas. When soon-to-be college students are provided with real insight into a career as an educator, they will be able to see past the stigma and understand how teaching is a rewarding and important profession.

Various Oklahoma high schools have implemented the Teach Oklahoma curriculum with students currently in the program set to lead their own classroom in four to five years after completing a bachelor’s degree.

Schools working to recruit the next generation of teachers include:

  • Enid High School
  • Edmond Santa Fe
  • Great Plains
  • Northwest Classen
  • Kiamichi Technology- McAlester
  • Kiamichi- Atoka
  • Woodward High School
  • Western Technology

Oklahoma classrooms will still need qualified, certified educators before this group of future teachers graduates from college. That’s why American Board has partnered with Oklahoma to provide an online, affordable path to teacher certification.

American Board candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and are provided with materials to prepare for two exams: one to test their competency in pedagogy, or instructional methods, and one to test their competency in the subject area they wish to certify in. The nonprofit organization helps puts qualified individuals where they are most needed: leading the classroom.

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