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Tulsa Public Schools alumni return to the classroom as teachers amidst statewide shortage

Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 05:52:26-04

TULSA, Okla. -- Mollie Howell is transitioning from a career in health care to the classroom.

On Tuesday a former teacher helped Howell with supplies as the 24-year-old goes from an emergency certification into the school year.

"The opportunity to join Tulsa Teacher Corps came about and I just had that tug at my heart that I've always wanted to be a teacher and I kind of ignored it in college and this was just a perfect opportunity to move back home and start this journey," Howell said.

In the wake of the walkout, Oklahoma is facing a teacher shortage, with 500 vacancies across the state. But Howell is feeling optimistic.

"I think they absolutely are improving. They're way better than they were when I was in high school, they're way better than they were a year ago, and I think that things are only going to get better," she said.

Some teachers tell us it was the idea of working back home that inspired them to return to the classroom.

"It's just like that first day of school, when you're nervous and you just want to go and you just want to be there. It's life changing and I know this is where I want to be. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else other than be where it all started for me," Hawthorne Elementary teacher Brittany Bell said.

Bell was student class president at Will Rogers High School. She realized three months before graduating this spring that she wanted to be a teacher. After going through the Tulsa Teacher Corps, Bell is excited to work with second graders.

"Someone has to be there to make that growth. Someone has to be there to help these students succeed and for them to harness it. Everyone has that imagination, but I feel like teachers are the ones that spark it," she said.

With classes starting on August 22nd, TPS still has 13 vacancies to fill.

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