Language Department


Teacher Bridge Program

ᎤᎾᏕᏠᏆᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏕᏲᏗ, the Cherokee Nation’s Teacher Bridge Program, is committed to further developing participants’ Cherokee language proficiency while preparing them to be Cherokee Language Teachers. The program will focus on expanding social capacity through strengthening professional teaching skills for Cherokee Nation educational programs and other local educational institutions with whom we partner. Participants will develop the cultural, linguistic, and pedagogical skills needed to effectively teach Cherokee language learners using the Cherokee Language.

Participants will engage in class sessions Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and will receive an educational cash benefit as part of this two-year, 40-hour-a-week program. The main classroom will be in Tahlequah, OK, but there will be required field experiences and other travel at certain times during the program. Class sessions will be in a Cherokee language immersion environment, employing a combination of discussion, direct instruction, and project-based activities. The number of applicants selected will be based on program availability.

Bearing in mind the very different rates at which people learn language, Teacher Bridge Participants could expect to be at a mid-to-high-advanced level of Cherokee proficiency (as described by the American Council on Teaching Foreign Languages) at the end of the two-year program. They will also be able to employ a variety of language teaching methods for all ages of students.

To be selected for the program, the following requirements must be met:

  • Must be 18 years or older.
  • Must possess a strong desire to help revitalize the Cherokee language and culture through teaching.
  • Must score at least high-intermediate in speaking on the program’s approved Cherokee language assessment.
  • Must be willing to teach different age groups (children to adults).
  • Must pass a youth-sensitive background check.
  • Must not be currently (at the time the cohort begins) enrolled in a different Cherokee Nation full-time language program.

Preferred qualifications:

  • Teacher education/teaching background (not specifically language teaching is fine)

Application Deadline for Cohort 1: November 1, 2023
Classes start: January 4, 2024


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have teacher certification to apply for this program?

Teaching certification is not required, but preference will be given to applicants who meet all of the other requirements and also have teaching certification or significant teacher education background.

Will I receive my state teaching certificate when I finish this program?

No. This is not a state certification program. However, you will have the pedagogical skills to teach the Cherokee language to any age level of students.

Is the program offered online?

No. The program is in-person. Of course, if there are COVID-related issues, classes can be held online in situations that warrant such action.

How often are new program participants chosen?

New participants will be chosen once a year, with new program sessions usually starting in October. Start dates could change based on program availability.

What is the class size?

Usually, there will be 4 participants per session, so in the first year, there will be 4 in the program; in the second and subsequent years, there will be 8 in the program. This could change based on program availability.

Can I work while I’m in Teacher Bridge?

We strongly suggest that participants not work or engage in other educational pursuits while in this program.

What is an educational cash benefit?

Program participants receive a bi-weekly educational cash benefit to offset living expenses. The hourly pay is $15/hr.