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'CU Become a Teacher' workshop held at Cameron

More than 25 people - some with degrees, some without and some looking for a career change - attended Cameron University's "CU Become a Teacher" workshop Wednesday.

It turns out there are multiple pathways to becoming a teacher in Oklahoma and Cameron University is making it easy to learn about those pathways in free, specialized workshops during December and January. More workshops will be scheduled during that timeframe and may be scheduled into February.

"With the statewide teacher shortage, Cameron University's Department of Education is committed to help local communities find more teachers who live in their area," said Jennifer Dennis, chair of the Department of Education. "Because the teacher certification process has changed significantly over the past several years, we want to share that information with those who are searching for a way to teach and serve the children of Southwest Oklahoma."

The funding for the workshops is courtesy of a grant from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's Oklahoma Teacher Connection, she said. 

Dennis presented four main pathways to becoming a teacher including: The traditional approach, alternative certification original program, alternative certification special education boot camp and the paraprofessional route.

Below is a brief version of what was presented.

Depending on the pathway selected and the individual's previous schooling, "some of the people who come tonight will be teaching in August," Dennis said. 

Pathways

The traditional method is just what it sounds like, with student pursuing a four-year degree in one of the following education degrees: elementary, early childhood, music, social studies or English. 

Another way listed under the traditional method, is taking a minor in educational studies. It is 18 hours of courses that work with Cameron majors without an education program, she said.

The original alternative certification program is not for those individuals who want to teach elementary, early education or special education classes, Dennis said, explaining there are three ways someone with a degree can qualify. Although a grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a baccalaureate degree is required, that can be waived by other conditions including a certain number of years of documented work experience.  In addition to the education component, competency in a subject area must be shown, but there are many ways to show competency in the field listed on a degree or in another field in which the person has actually worked. 

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