Can you tell us about yourself?
Hi, my name's Moriah Wrenn Sandkulla. I'm a teacher here at Churchland middle school in Portsmouth, Virginia. I teach seventh-grade social studies mostly U.S. History to and from 1865 until the present. I've been here for 11 years.
Why did you start a career in education?
I chose to become a teacher when I was in high school. I would say I was in 10th grade and I told my English teacher, I wanted to become a teacher. Um, and it was mostly, I wanted to be an English teacher. And it was mostly because of her influence. She was, um, I don't know, she was just amazing to me, so I really wanted to be an educator as well.
If I could have any other job, what would it be and why?
I'm not even sure, maybe working with computers somehow. Um, if I could go back, I might've gotten an engineering degree or something like that.
How are kids different than they were 30 years ago?
Well, I was, I'm only 34 years old, so, These kids definitely have a lot more available to them than I did when I was a child. A lot more opportunities. A lot more accountability, I would say because their parents can keep a track of their grades and what they're doing in school very easily.
How is teaching different than it was 30 years ago?
I wasn't a teacher 30 years ago, but I feel like there's a lot more technology. There's a lot more, um, adaptation to our student needs. I wasn't a special needs student at all. I was a pretty average student, but I didn't notice that my classmates did, some of them need more help than others, especially when I was in high school. I thought it was very strange when I was in high school, that there were so many children who couldn't read in my English class and it was just crazy to me because I'm like I went to school. These people, we learn the same things and you still can't read. So yeah, that was one of the reasons why I wanted to be an English teacher or at least I thought about reading, reading specialist. Maybe I'll do that at some point. But yeah, there's a lot more opportunity now. Teaching's a lot different teachers have to deal with a lot more, especially with like social media and all that other stuff on these kids have a lot going on. And it's just a lot to juggle.
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
Do not expect what you're being taught in college to be very relevant to what you were actually experienced in a classroom. It's very, very, very different. It's even different from your experience as a student. Once you're in your own classroom, you definitely have more freedom to do what they do, what you will, and depending on what school you're in, it's also going to be very different. So just be prepared for things to not be quite as you expect it to be. Because it's definitely a challenge. Teaching is not easy. If you are not here, uh, for the children you are going to, uh, be very disappointed
What would you change to help kids learn better?
I would change the fact that, uh, somehow parents have become disconnected from their children's education. Uh, I'm not saying most parents aren't or most parents are, but there are many parents that expect learning to happen at school only. And don't reinforce it at home. A lot of children are coming in with, uh, a lack of skills in certain areas that I was taught at home. I would think kids can learn better if their parents were also involved in their learning. And I wish as a culture here in America, that we would, um, go back or take that back basically and, um, hold parents accountable for their children's learning as well because teachers are accountable for your child's learning as well too, but your child needs you the most as a parent. So, uh, that is one thing I would change about education or making kids, helping kids learn better. Um, thank you so much and have a great rest of your day.