Tulsa Woman Goes From Paraprofessional To Full-Time Teacher


Friday, August 4th 2017, 5:13 pm
By: Emory Bryan


As Oklahoma's teacher shortage grows, more teachers are coming into the classroom through unusual ways.

One qualified teacher, who starts at Sequoyah Elementary in two weeks, had to go through all those unusual certification procedures to get into the classroom — and she's ready.

Catherine Li is one of Tulsa's newest teachers and surely one of the most enthusiastic.

"I think I will teach until I am 100 years old," Li said.

She comes with 20 years university level experience, and a lifetime of wanting to see America.

"The five lakes, look like I was wondering how long president Lincoln's legs are..." Li said.

For the last two years, as she's described in journals, she moved from being a paraprofessional to a fully certified teacher.

She'll teach second grade English this year, one of the most in-demand teaching jobs.

"I am excited, I am honored and it's a privelage for me to share my teaching skill and enthusiasm because I really love, and my love needs to be released," Li said.

As an assistant she went beyond just helping one student to sharing her culture with an entire school.

Li Taught children about chinese games and chinese exercise.

And now, she says, as a regular teacher, she hopes to continue opening the eyes of children to the world around them.

"The young kids are like blank paper. Whatever you draw, your picture is there and their minds are not polluted. Their mind is very simple, very kind, very easy," Li said. "I hope they not only physically, but spiritually they will be healthy beautiful children."