Tulsa Public Schools partnered with Northeastern State University to create an eight-week pilot program for seniors interested in pursuing a career in education.
“Statistics indicate that the majority of first-year teachers teach at school districts within a 40-mile radius of where they grew up. Therefore, NSU partnered with TPS to offer our concurrent enrollment Explorations in Teaching course to high school seniors in the hopes to cultivate the passion of teaching and foster a positive perspective on teaching,” said Dr. Lisa Bisogno. “We ultimately hope that these students will pursue a degree within a teacher preparation program and teach at Tulsa Public Schools upon graduation.”
The class met for the first time the week before spring break and continued online due to COVID-19.
“The course is going very well,” said Dr. Jericho Hobson. “The students have adapted well to using a Zoom platform for class and are always very engaged during class lectures and discussions. I am amazed weekly by their maturity and the quality of their assignment submissions. The students shine a very promising light on the future of Oklahoma teachers!”
The course was designed to utilize classroom instruction, learning activities, and small group tutoring sessions in an afterschool program to help students learn. The course also allows students to write and implement lesson plans. Instead of the field activities, this year’s class made the best of the situation which allowed for more in-depth discussions about teaching, virtual guest speakers, and additional time to walk them through the steps of the teacher certification process.
“These students are very interested in the process of becoming a teacher,” said Dr. Hobson. “They ask great questions and they are eager to learn more and initiate the steps necessary to be successful on this journey.”
One of the students, Janet Bigelow, said this class gives her the opportunity to see what college classes in an education major would be like. Plus, she is getting a head start on the 124 credit hours she will need to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“I have learned it takes a lot of preparation and dedication to both your subject and your students to be a good teacher,” she said. “I have always loved teaching people and watching them grow. I particularly have always loved seeing people’s reactions when they finally get something that earlier had been very difficult for them.”
Makenzie Brown said she has always enjoyed helping her mom and sister in their classrooms and hopes to have a career that lets her help kids too.
“I have learned that so much of being a good teacher goes beyond the curriculum and material. You have to have to understand how kids operate and have a relationship with them to help them learn effectively,” she said.
This class gave Hannah Cunningham the opportunity to start pursuing her dreams before graduation.
“Teaching has always been a passion of mine, whether it be teaching math or teaching manners, she said. “I want to be the person that lifts students up and helps them succeed. I want to help build a foundation that students can grow on.”
This class is a great introduction to the education regardless of what area you plan to pursue or if you are still on the fence about a career in education in general.
“Dr. Hobson did a great job of teaching the class to benefit all types of educators. She did not focus on elementary or high school teaching, the lessons she provided us with can be applied to any career in education,” said Hannah.
“I have learned so much in this class. I have learned techniques that will help me not only as a teacher but as a lifelong learner and as an efficient member of society. It takes patience, innovative thinking, consistency, and empathy to help children grow not only as students but as people,” said Sloan Warrick.
Tulsa Public Schools plans to offer this course again next year as the program continues to expand to provide opportunities to more students.