I?m a Kansan, I?m a future educator and I?m concerned. The lack of value and importance placed on education by my state?s government feels like a slap in the face to someone who believes in education so much that I?m pursuing a career in it.
It makes my heart heavy to read about the cuts being made to public school funding and to see how those cuts affect the school I grew up in and love.
What makes my heart hopeful, though, are the articles I?ve read from people who genuinely care about Kansas students and the dedication I?ve seen in my fellow future and current teachers.
I?m not writing this column to judge the character of any legislators or belittle the state?s budget crisis. I?m writing it to add my voice and my story to the conversation.
About 15 years ago, I entered Hillsboro Elemen?tary School and began a journey that gave me a love for learning and brought inspiring and influential people into my life.
While I was never a big fan of early mornings or late nights spent working on homework, I loved my public school experience. I loved learning more about math and English and history. I loved building friendships with my classmates. I loved gaining wisdom and insight from teachers who wanted to see me succeed.
When it came time for me to decide what I wanted to study in college, education honestly wasn?t my first choice. But it didn?t take me long at all to realize that teaching is where my heart is. As I?ve begun my path toward becoming a teacher, I?ve realized even more why education should be a top priority.
By cutting education, state legislators are directly hurting two very large groups of people: teachers and students.
Teachers are an incredible group of people, and I?m not just saying that because I plan on becoming one. Teachers dedicate their lives to helping children develop into better thinkers and better people. They facilitate learning and advocate for our children.
When school funding is cut, classes become bigger and education becomes less individualized. I believe the classroom should be a place where students can take initiative in their learning and where learning is more than just reading from a book.
However, with fewer resources and more students, teachers become stretched and it becomes harder (yet not impossible) to create an effective classroom. Students are the future. They are the ones who will become our doctors, care takers, lawyers, lawmakers, teachers, entertainers and much more.
By directly hurting teachers and students, state legislators are really indirectly hurting themselves and the future of the state. If we don?t value children as students, we are devaluing the great potential they have to contribute to our state and our world.
As a student, I enjoyed and benefitted much more from the classrooms in which I was truly cared for as an individual. Students are more likely to become bitter about school when classes are huge and teachers are worn out.
Our world, our nation, our state and our town need students who are excited about learning and pursuing careers that they are passionate about, not students who feel forgotten and undervalued. The only way we can achieve this is by investing in education.
I want to become a teacher because I believe every student is important and deserves to feel cared for. I want to teach life lessons along with English lessons, build confidence, and be a positive role model for my students. But I can?t successfully do that if my state legislators don?t provide the government support my profession needs.