NSU faculty visiting high schools
NSU faculty visiting high schools to promote teaching and education career options to students
TAHLEQUAH — Northeastern State University faculty are visiting school districts across Oklahoma to promote teaching and education careers to high-school student athletes.
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education awarded NSU funding through its Oklahoma Teacher Connection Collegiate Grant program to implement an outreach initiative to attract Oklahoma high school student-athletes to the education and teaching profession. These are one-year grants “that encourage the recruitment, retention and placement efforts of teachers in Oklahoma,” according to the OSRHE website.
“Speaking to high school athletes about the rewards of a career in physical education and coaching could be an effective way to influence them to consider teaching,” Assistant Dean of the College of Education Dr. Kelli Carney said. “Adding more health and physical fitness teachers in Oklahoma's schools would go a long way to help the teacher shortage in this area.”
While Oklahoma’s teacher shortage is not a new phenomenon, Carney said for the last couple years health and physical fitness teachers were included on the Oklahoma Teacher Shortage Areas list. At NSU, the Health and Physical Education program prepares candidates to teach physical education and health in grades K-12.
Faculty from the Health and Physical Education program at NSU are traveling to school districts across the state to present workshops highlighting teaching careers. Carney said while student-athletes are the primary target audience any student is welcomed to participate.
Faculty share why a teaching and education profession is a good career choice, explore the role educators play in health and physical activity of school children and students learn more about specific classes and programs as they begin exploring colleges.
Carney said student-athletes also represent a high proportion of students with various diverse backgrounds. She added successfully recruiting junior and senior high school student-athletes to the teaching and education profession could potentially contribute to a more diverse teacher candidate pool.
NSU faculty have already presented to more than 200 students and there are plans to visit with even more students. Faculty traveled to various high schools including large suburban schools, urban schools, rural schools, as well as schools in high needs areas.
“The potential to impact teacher retention is high if we recruit these talented athletes to teacher education and add to the number of comprehensively prepared physical education teachers and coaches, thus helping to fulfill the needs determined by the teacher shortage area list,” Carney said.