Can you tell us about yourself?
"Okay. Hi, my name is Elizabeth Heinz. I teach at Quitman high school Quitman, Mississippi. Uh, I've been an educator for 13 years, but this is my third year at this school."
Why did you start a career in education?
"So why did I start my career in education? It actually started as a fluke. My degree is in general theater and I was determined that I was going to be a famous actress and, um, life had other plans for me. In 2006 I had brain surgery and uh, twice and there was, uh, an opening for some substitute teachers. And so I applied for some substitute teaching jobs while I recovered from the brain surgery. And, uh, actually the theater teacher at the high school that I applied at had just quit the year before. And since I had a theater degree, I was offered a full time position as the theater teacher. So I took it. So it was kind of, it just kind of fell right in my lap and I wasn't sure if I was gonna like it. I wasn't sure what I was gonna do. Um, both my parents are teachers, my sister is a teacher. Um, so I mean, it was just kind of a family thing."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"Um, but like I said, if I could have any other job, I'd be famous. But honestly, I'm famous to these kids. Uh, they all know me. They all trust me and I love it."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
""Kids are different now than they were 30 years ago, only because of the morals that they're taught outside of the school and their behavior that they are allowed outside of the school. Uh, my students know where they stand with me. They also know what I expect from them and the majority of them do what I asked them to do with no questions. And they give me the respect that I, um, require from them and they get the respect that they require for me in return. Uh, it's, it's different because of the way that the world is working now and the way that the parents are raising children and the responsibilities that these children have on them that we didn't have several years ago. Um, I've had some students that have had to work a full time job while going to high school and have been the sole provider for everybody in the home because mom has been disabled or something else and they've had to take care of everybody, younger brothers and sisters and all."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Teaching is different from 30 years ago because the kids are different. They are connected 100% of the time to the rest of the world. Uh, they constantly have things going on and we can't stop that. So we have to adjust ourselves accordingly. Someone who would want to be a do it, don't be scared of it. It's amazing. And if you have kids of your own, you're out of school with them on the weekends, you're out of school for holidays and for the summers you get to spend time with your kids and you don't have to worry about finding a sitter. But I have gained so many other kids because of teaching that I didn't know that you could love so many different people at one time. These kids are my heart and I would do anything for them. And they know that and they come to me if they have problems, are they just want to talk or whatever. It is very rewarding in that aspect and it's very worth it and it's worth the struggle. The kids just, they make it great."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"Um, but one thing that I would change to make kids learn better, I think that I would honestly ban cell phone usage in school and the only reason he has is because they are so connected on social media that they are constantly on TechTalk. They are constantly on um, Snapchat. They are constantly on any other social media platforms they can get to and they want to post stuff, they want to be famous on social media, but they also have a connection with the outside world through text. So if something happens, they immediately know about it and it can ruin their day. And if they're not having a good day, they're not going to learn the way that they should."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"So I think that that would be the one thing that I would do is to ban cell phones and allow more hands on activities for the kids. Because these are not the same kids that could learn just by writing and reading stuff. They need an example and they need to live it and they need to do it and they need to make sure that they can see the results from what we're teaching. Um, but than that, I love education. I love teaching. I love coaching. I love every bit about it. And these kids are fantastic and anybody who wants to be a teacher, I suggest that you do it. It's not for the money, it is for the kids. And it is for the feeling you get when you have other kids that are not yours biologically treats you as another parent. Um, respond to you in a way that you never thought other kids could and trust you enough to come and talk to you. Even though you're an adult. And a lot of kids don't want to talk to adults, but they do it. Teaching's not for somebody who can't deal with that. It's a very strong profession to be in. And it takes a very strong person to deal with it because there's a lot of different things that go on in these kids' lives. And you have to understand that and you have to understand that they have ups and downs and they have lives outside of the school and you can't control what goes on at home. All you can do is be here for the, um, as a constant and as somebody that they can always come to, no matter what the problem is, that will try to guide them in the right direction."