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The future of teaching may be closer than you think

Educators Rising and Education Academy go hand in hand in preparing future teachers
Bennett+Steele+awaits+his+turn+to+sign.
Khadijah Brooks
Bennett Steele awaits his turn to sign.

Eighteen Papio South students attended and participated National Education Signing Day took place on May 7th.

Among those students was senior Bennett Steele, who got his head start in Education Academy, a course he recommended to students considering a future in teaching.

“If you love making an impact, if you wanna serve students in the classroom to see what it’s like,” Steele said. “It may not be for you, and it may be for you.” 

Another Education Academy student, Mar Nalty, said her interest started long before high school.

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Mar Nalty (courtesy of Mar Nalty)

“It’s going to sound cliche,” Nalty stated, “but because my mom is a teacher, she helped me want to become a teacher; and I have always loved kids.” 

Steele said he was slower to warm up to the idea.

“In eighth grade a girl said to me, ‘You should be a teacher,’ and I was like, ‘meh,’” Steele said.  

It took the death of his grandfather, a longtime educator, to help him see it differently.

Bennett Steele (courtesy of Bennett Steele)

“Honestly, after seeing all the former students at his funeral and seeing the impact that he made, I was like ‘Okay, I wanna do something with my life that is fulfilling that gives back to people and is able to make an impact’,” Steele remarked, “and I realized teaching was perfect for that .”

Not only has family helped motivate Nalty and Steele, but teachers have also played an important role in helping them want to pursue teaching.

“There are many teachers that have inspired me, but the one who inspired me the most would have to be Mr. Brian Johnson,” Mar said. “He’s bright and welcoming and he pushed me to get out of my shell.” 

It was early on in Steels’s high school career when he got serious about pursuing teaching. 

“Talking to teachers in my freshman year, Ms. Karlie Hermson really advocated for it, and what a great opportunity it was. That’s when I really decided it was for me,” Steele said. 

Both Nalty and Steele will be continuing their education in teaching. Nalty will be attending The University of Nebraska Lincoln to major in elementary education. Steele will be attending Kansas State to major in secondary education. 

Both Steele and Nalty recommend Education Academy as a starting point for gaining experience as a teacher. 

“It gives kids a sense of whether this is for me or if it isn’t for me,” Steele said. “I love teaching so this is a great opportunity to get in the classroom – get involved, make mistakes, learn from them and just grow.”

Nalty remarked how gained experience through the Education Academy helped her in her decision to pursue teaching.

“Get experience, get as much experience as you can.” Nalty remarked. “Talk to your teachers about becoming a teacher.” 

Nalty and Steele experienced challenges, memories, and a range of opportunities during their time with the Education Academy.

Both Nalty and Steele enjoyed giving new students they’ve met opportunities to grow and improve.

“Any time you get the opportunity to see a student have a breakthrough,” Steele stated, it’s really satisfying and fulfilling.”

Through the Education Academy, Nalty and Steele learned different things to help their futures in education.

Steele reflects on how pursuing education gave him a unique perspective on teachers.

“Sometimes students don’t know how much a teacher actually cares.” Steele stated. “Sometimes, teachers show their care in different ways.”

 Nalty expressed how helping students helped her change as a person.

“I’ve learned to be patient, flexible– and every kid has a different story.” Nalty said.

 

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