Can you tell us about yourself?
"Hi, sorry about the look. I am doing distance learning at my computer, so hopefully we'll get back into a regular type of schedule one day. It's kind of a, it's an interesting process isn't it? So I was asked to tell a little bit about myself. My name is Tina and I am a high school English teacher at West high in Wichita, Kansas. I also am an adjunct at WSU tech where I teach comp one and sometimes come to and um, I have been at the Wichita school district for 28 years and with WSU probably about five or six. I can't really remember."
Why did you start a career in education?
"And why did I start my career in education? Well, honestly I, I love literature. I love writing and reading and I also just think teenagers are fun. They're hilarious. Um, they keep me young at heart and it's just, their minds just are interesting to me about the things they think about."
If you could have any other job what would it be and why?
"I could have any other job, honestly, probably a full time writer. But before I became a teacher, I was studying Marine biology and I actually wanted to work with, um, dolphins and a program where they worked with autistic children. And, um, it was kinda cool because the dolphins would work with kids who were at a point where they wouldn't communicate well, but for some reason they would communicate with the dolphins. So I found that fascinating, which kind of led me towards going and just to full time education cause I love this subject so much."
How are kids different now than 30 years ago?
"Um, how are kids different? Well, I think they, their brains have adapted more quickly, uh, technology, uh, they're more eager to see how things work in that field. But also, um, it can be rough sometimes with technology. Cause when I was a teenager, whatever we did, you know, was not recorded or put on social media. So, uh, that's one thing. And another is they tend to question things like, uh, why, why do I have to do this in this certain way? A little bit more than usual. When I was in school, we just kinda did what we were told and, and we didn't, uh, didn't question the teacher or have issues like that. We would just accept it. And I'm kinda glad that the kids did. They kind of questioned what they're learning and why. It's a good, it's a good trait to have. You need to know why you're learning something."
How is teaching different now than 30 years ago?
"Was it different of teaching? Well, I don't know about 30 years ago cause I've only been teaching 28, but I do know I could have a little bit more of a sense of humor and the kids would get it. But today we're in such a trauma type induced environment where our kids have been through so much that a lot of them, um, they have a different way of looking at things. We have to be really careful what we say and what we do more than usual. Um, because our kids are coming from some situations that probably weren't the best. And I teach in a high poverty schools. So, um, a lot of trauma and abuse things that are going on there. So we have to be more aware, more differentiated learning."
What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?
"If you're going to become a teacher, you need to know that it's a career and a calling, that you are not going to go in to thinking all kids want to learn. You have to somehow incorporate it where they find a love of learning and that it's a day by day step. It's a challenge. It's always changing. Um, it can be frustrating at times, but it also can be very rewarding in the end. And you may not see the difference you make, but eventually you will. I've received emails from students who are in their forties now or early forties, um, telling me about how much they appreciated the things that I did and these are things I didn't even realize I was doing. So you do make a difference."
What is one thing you would change to help kids learn better?
"So just know that if I could change things to help kids learn better, I would change patients because they're in such a technology induced environment that answers are instantaneous on their, their smartphone or on the computer, that a lot of them just would rather get the answer that way instead of really trying to analyze and figure things out for themselves. So I want them to start learning to think for themselves and not just rely on this cold piece of metal to tell them what to think. And that's my concern is creativity can be lost if it's not applied correctly because technology is a wonderful thing, but it needs to be balanced out. So I hope all of you guys are doing great and I hope you're healthy and let's keep our fingers crossed at this will pass and we'll start off the fall with, um, a much better appreciation for things. And it's going to be interesting to see how this has affected our children. So good luck to you and blessings. Have a good day. Bye."