The Southeastern

Driving teachers away or to stay?

The+fight+against+Oklahoma+education+officials+has+been+going+on+for+some+time.+This+image+of+Dorothy+Shetley%2C+is+from+a+rally+in+2015+that+saw+over+7%2C000+educators+show+up+in+protest+at+the+state+capitol.+
The fight against Oklahoma education officials has been going on for some time. This image of Dorothy Shetley, is from a rally in 2015 that saw over 7,000 educators show up in protest at the state capitol.

The fight against Oklahoma education officials has been going on for some time. This image of Dorothy Shetley, is from a rally in 2015 that saw over 7,000 educators show up in protest at the state capitol.

Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

The fight against Oklahoma education officials has been going on for some time. This image of Dorothy Shetley, is from a rally in 2015 that saw over 7,000 educators show up in protest at the state capitol.

Brad Erwin, Staff Writer

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The teacher shortage is ongoing and with the climate in Oklahoma about the value of teachers in society, reflecting to a lack of pay, aspiring and tenure teachers do the job for something more than money.

In Oklahoma there is a problem with a decrease in teachers, due to Oklahoma wages competing against neighboring states, and a rise in number of students per class. To combat this problem, Oklahoma has been creating emergency certification teachers to fill the needed positions.

According to Tulsaworld, in 2011, there were 32 emergency teacher certifications issued. In 2017, 1,429 emergency certifications were issued.

Cody Little, a graduate of Southeastern with a Bachelor of Science in Heath and a Master in Education Administration, whom also is employed as a physical science teacher, head softball coach, and junior high school baseball coach at Durant High School stated emergency certification teachers are helping combat the shortage but it’s like a, “band aid on a massive wound.”

When asked why teachers are leaving the state, Coach Little responded, “Number one: pay.” According to Oklahomawatch.org, a Bryan county starting salary is 31,600. According to dallasnews.com, starting teacher pay reaches 50,000 in many North Texas districts. Which does account for a part of the shortage. Coach Little also stated, “Teaching is a whole lot more than just being educated.”

When asked why would you get a college degree in a field that does not make much money? Coach Little responded, People do not become teachers for the money. He teaches because it, “Fulfills my purpose in life, which is to make the world a better place.” He continued, “I am doing what I love to do and providing for my family.”

Coach Little said one of the best things about being a teacher is, “Getting to come to work every day and building relationships with kids, getting to know them, getting to know their stories, and hopefully influencing their lives for the better.”

The views expressed by Cody Little are not necessarily a reflection of the views and opinions of Durant High School.

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Driving teachers away or to stay?