The education field could be one of the most important fields in the world today. President of the Student Affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English, Jessica Wilkinson, invited four important people to speak and give advice to future teachers who want to go into child education at Western on Jan. 19.
Four school administrators from the Kansas City area who have high rankings in their school districts stressed the importance of education. The group consisted of Dr. Chris Blackburn, Doug Flowers, Dr. Rob Gardner and Rob Winter.
Blackburn, the superintendent in Lathrop, Mo., was the first to present information to the audience about things that her school district does to help a child learn better. One of these is having a four-day school week – they are the only district in Missouri that does this. This might seem to be an extra day of fun for the students, but this is actually an extra day for them to study. The teachers have more time to help children on certain things.
Blackburn also claims that attendance went up and everyone involved is for this new way of learning. She said that parents are seeing results and are happy about the situation.
Teaching children was the main topic and was the pinnacle of everything all of the speakers said. One of the speakers made clear how great of an impact teachers can have on a child by saying the teacher has a great responsibility to help children. Flowers made a strong statement that would get everyone’s attention.
“Children are going home to homes that might not have any parents in the home, so we have to take on the role as parents,” Flowers said.
Flowers said that self-image is also big if you want to be a teacher. He said that there are certain things that you have to be willing to give up in that field, one of which is a somewhat free social life.
“You will always be Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so to the kids, so it is important to be careful and do the right things,” Flowers said.
Gardner said that the best teachers are the ones that are willing to go the extra mile. Ways to do this are through coaching, tutoring and after school programs. This is what he says separates teachers who are looking for a job. Helping the less fortunate is an eye opener according to Gardner, and he gave some input on past experiences from teachers.
“The teachers actually drove to the apartment complexes and set up study periods for underprivileged kids,” Gardner said.
The speakers possessed the same mindset, because teachers who are willing to do whatever it takes get hired first, according to Flowers.
“We want to hire quality people first and foremost,” Flowers said. “You only get one first impression.”
Education is a difficult field to go into right now due to the economy. Many people apply for a position and don’t know if hundreds are applying for the same one. Wilkinson is a senior who graduates this semester. She is very aware of how tough and competitive it is to be a teacher. One of the ways she prepares for the challenge is by being active at events and doing things off campus. She wanted to get the word out on this event and its importance to the other students who are interested in education.
“This is something we like to do annually and in this time of economic crisis,” Wilkinson said. “I felt this was the best year to have this event.”