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Can you tell us about yourself? 


My name is Melissa Thomas and I'm a teacher at East High School. I teach ELA in a sheltered ELL program In schools in Kansas City, Missouri. And I've taught there for I think, eight years.


Why did you start a career in education?


Why did you start a career in education? I wanted to work with teenagers and I love learning and cognitive development, and I also love language and culture. So originally I started out as a French teacher, and then I switched over to, um, English as a second language.

If you could have any other job what would it be and why?

If you could have any, if you could have any other job, what would it be and why? I would be a meteorologist because whether it's just like culture, it's everywhere and it affects all aspects of our lives. And yet most people don't realize how important it is to our day-to-day life. Whether in culture, also Gary Lee, Zack, I don't know if you guys know him, but he is an awesome urologist. And he's my hero.

How are kids different now than 30 years ago?


How are kids different now than 30 years ago? Kids now are very different than they were 30 years ago.  I don't think kids now really understand how to live without the internet, without wifi connection. And they don't know how to interact with each other face to face very well at all. If you get a kid after school, they're probably on their computer doing something or on their phone doing something.  I don't think they know how to entertain themselves without some kind of, um, technological device. I think that's really, um, uh, poverty. It's sad. 

How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?


I wasn't a teacher 30 years ago, but my guess is that 30 years ago there wasn't the testing that there is now, uh, the state testing, um, and teachers probably were not held accountable or responsible or blamed maybe for the failures of our students.  I think it was a different time and I'm not saying that that's better or worse. I'm just saying it was different 30 years ago in terms of testing and mandates.

What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?

What would you tell someone right now that is thinking about becoming a teacher? So if you love kids and you're patient and you're willing to work very long hours and the weekends, maybe 60 hours a week, I don't know. It's different for different people. If you're willing to devote yourself to that and make maybe $30,000 a year starting out, um, then yes, you should totally go for it because we really need good teachers. We really, really need good teachers. But if you're not, if you're not in it for the kids, if you're not willing to devote yourself your time, your energy, your money, even, uh, for these kids, um, then it's probably not the job for you. It's a really hard job. It's a great job, but it's a hard job. I mean, I'm making this video because I need your buds, my students, that's why I'm making this video. So that's, that's, that's what teaching is like

What would you change to help kids learn better?

What, what is one thing you help kids learn better? Class size would be really helpful if there could be some, I'm getting a call, hold on. If there could be some commitment by the government by, um, funders, however that works out so that we didn't have 25 and 30 kids in a room with one teacher and maybe a pair of professionals. If we could have class sizes that were manageable and reasonable, I think that would make a huge difference in student learning and also the work-life of the teacher. 

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