The students in Janet Harris’ video production class earn a lot more than an A or a B.
They earn “real world experience” broadcasting live sporting events, said Harris, who was named teacher of the year at the Oklahoma CareerTech summer conference.
“It takes a lot of teamwork. The students are very engaged,” she said. “The learning doesn’t stop when they leave the classroom.”
Harris is employed by Francis Tuttle Technology Center but teaches broadcasting and video editing at Deer Creek High School through a partnership with the school and GameView, a student-led broadcast sports media platform based in Tulsa.
“It’s a creative way for us to reach out to more students,” Francis Tuttle Superintendent Tom Friedemann said. “Janet’s been the perfect person to do that.”
The partnership began last school year, so everything was new to the students, who broadcast more than 40 live events.
“During football season, it was learn as you go,” said Harris, admitting some weeks were “a train wreck.”
But that was part of the learning and growing. “They figured out how to troubleshoot equipment.”
The sporting events are streamed live at the website deercreekantlers.tv and also recorded, so Harris and her students can review what worked and “what do we need to improve,” she said.
Harris said the students put in long hours and “take a lot more pride in it than just getting a grade.”
During the first year, students learned new technologies, techniques of broadcasting and life skills such as leadership and motivation that will serve them no matter what career they choose, she said.
Harris said she bases her class and curriculum on the 21st-century learning skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.
But she gives her students the credit for the teacher of the year recognition. “My students make the program,” she said.
‘Their work matters’
The honor came with $20,000 for Harris and Francis Tuttle to split. It was one of four cash awards presented at the CareerTech conference that concluded Tuesday in Tulsa.
Express Employment Professionals provided the cash awards, which are thought to be the first of their kind nationally.
The money motivates teachers and staff to do their best and helps technology-based, equipment-oriented programs stay current for teaching students the skills the market needs, Friedemann said.
Francis Tuttle likely will put its award back into Harris’ program, he said.
“Inspiring and equipping our state’s future workforce depends on exemplary teachers like Janet, who provide students with the type of skills highly sought after by employers,” said Bob Funk, CEO and chairman of the board for Express Employment Professionals.
“Sponsoring these awards is our way of encouraging CareerTech educators that their work matters profoundly. We also wanted to give them a boost in classroom resources to help equip students to succeed in life and the workplace,” Funk said.
Also recognized at the CareerTech conference were: