Becoming a Teacher

By Madison Lyda

Managing Editor

@maddilnee

Every year, thousands of graduating students interested in careers in education embark on their journeys of becoming certified teachers.

Entering the education field can be difficult and competitive, but getting the job is often not the most difficult process compared to getting the certifications.

On Feb. 24, Cameron University held the CU Become a Teacher workshop in the CETES Conference Center.

Department of Education speaker Dean Jennifer Dennis said that the attendance at the workshop was the most they’ve ever had.

Faculty members from the Department of Education informed attendees about various pathways for receiving the certifications needed to begin their teaching careers in Oklahoma.

Topics included shortcuts, seminars and alternative education resources.

Cameron also opened the event for the public to inform individuals who previously graduated from an accredited university, prospective students or those looking for the next steps to certification.

Recent graduate in Exercise Science Lillian Phillips said that — even though her degree isn’t in teaching — her current job with Lawton Public Schools (LPS) has sparked a passion for working with younger generations.

“I had plans to be a speech pathologist,” she said, “but working here, I’ve developed a heart for working with the younger generation. I attended tonight’s event in order to learn more about emergency certification, but I learned about so many more routes and opportunities. I didn’t realize how many ways there truly are to become a teacher.

“It’s eye opening,” Phillips said. “The amount of ways the world has created in order to help people become educators. The truth in it really is that no matter your situation, there is always a way to make your dreams become a reality. It just takes patience.”

During the event, Dennis spoke to attendees about unique opportunities offered to those interested in the special education field through the university.

One of the opportunities is Cameron University’s Special Education Boot Camp.

The boot camp is a fast-paced, specialized second-eight-week course aimed at individuals who have already received four-year college degrees.

The course provides the education needed to teach in special education.

After students complete the course, they become a certified K-12 special education teacher and may begin teaching.

Students then have three years after the boot camp to complete eighteen hours of coursework and pass additional teaching certification tests.

Senior Family Child Studies major Brittany Smiley said the information she acquired at the event was unexpected but helpful.

“When I was informed by Dr. Hilbert about alternative teaching, I decided that’s my sign,” she said. “I knew I needed to know more. So I came to this event and waited on information about the paraprofessional route but ultimately ended up learning so much more.

“I learned way more than I thought I would,” Smiley said. “I learned that there are so many options for me that weren’t disclosed when I began my college career in 2012.”

After the informational ended, attendees had the opportunity to organize into specialized groups by category of interest to meet with a member of the education department to ask questions, inquire more about desired routes and discuss additional information.

The CU Become a Teacher workshop held by the Department of Education is a reoccurring workshop.

Smiley offered advice to individuals interested in pursuing a career in education: persevere no matter the obstacles they face.

“Don’t give up,” she said. “Think of the all the little ones waiting on you. You may not know it yet, but you have the power to impact so many. No matter how you get there, traditionally or alternatively, you will get there.”

For more information about teacher certifications, future events or additional information regarding the Department of Education, contact dhilbert@cameron.edu or (580) 581-2320.

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