Northeastern State University faculty visit Oklahoma school districts to promote careers in teaching and education to high school student-athletes.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education provided funding to the NSU through its Oklahoma Teacher Connection Collegiate Grant program to implement an outreach initiative aimed at attracting high school student-athletes from Oklahoma into the education and teaching profession. These are one-year grants “that encourage teacher recruitment, retention, and placement efforts in Oklahoma,” according to the OSRHE website.

“Talking to high school athletes about the benefits of a career in physical education and coaching could be an effective way to inspire them to consider teaching,” said College of Education Assistant Dean Dr. Kelli Carney. “Adding more health and fitness teachers to Oklahoma schools would go a long way to addressing the teacher shortage in this area.”

While Oklahoma’s teacher shortage isn’t a new phenomenon, Carney said that for the past two years, health and fitness teachers have been on Oklahoma’s list of teacher shortage areas. Oklahoma. At NSU, the physical and health education program prepares candidates to teach physical education and health from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Teachers from NSU’s physical and health education program travel 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 welcome to participate.

Professors explain why a profession of teacher and educator is a good career choice, explore the role that educators play in the health and physical activity of school children, and students learn about specific courses and programs when they start exploring colleges.

Carney said student-athletes also represent a high proportion of students from diverse backgrounds. She added that the successful recruitment of junior and senior high school student-athletes into the teaching and education profession could potentially contribute to a more diverse pool of teacher candidates.

NSU faculty have already given presentations to over 200 students and there are plans to visit even more students. The teachers visited various secondary schools, including large suburban schools, urban schools, rural schools, as well as schools in high-needs areas.

“The potential for impact on teacher retention is high if we recruit these talented athletes into teacher education and add to the pool of fully prepared physical education teachers and coaches, helping to meet the needs identified by list of teacher shortage areas,” Carney said.