Teaching Future Educators

Jessica Buchanan teaches future educators from both Maize High and Maize South in her Intro to Teaching and Teaching Internship classes.


Photo by Shiah McLain

Mrs. Buchanan walks her students through instructions for their observation days at Pray Woodman and Vermillion Elementary during the third week of school on Monday, Sept. 21.

Ty Rains and Shiah McLain

Underpaid, overwhelmed, and underappreciated are all terms that come to mind when thinking about the variety of ways that our society perceives teachers.

The world we live in carries many different tones on the teaching career. A majority have little to no interest in becoming a teacher. According to Allana Akhtar from Business Insider, “The number of students enrolled in teacher prep programs decreased by one-third since 2010, representing a drop of 40,000 aspiring educators learning the trade.”

The decline in students taking education as a major at the collegiate level is also reflected by the mere 28 students across Maize and Maize South (nearly 2,300 combined in student population) that are taking Jessica Buchanan’s Intro to Teaching and Teaching Internship classes. Even though her overall student numbers in the course may be low, Buchanan believes that each and every one of them has the qualities and characteristics that will make a great teacher in the future. 

A majority of high school students have a job in mind for what they’d like to do when they graduate. Some actually do follow through with their dream job, but for students like Buchanan, they end up finding a true career they really enjoy through their college education. 

“I wanted to be a dental hygienist or an interior designer. Both of those things transformed into a FACS teacher,” Buchanan said. “When I was enrolling at K-State in interior design, I was actually looking through the class list in that college and I saw ‘FACS teacher.’ I took all of these classes in high school. It was my favorite class. My teacher was our cheer sponsor. It was just meaningful, and I settled on, ‘You know what? I think that’s what I would actually like to do and be back in the high school setting with highschool kids.’ I’m a people person and this is absolutely a rewarding career.”

Katie Morgan performs a micro-teach during her 4th Block Black Day class, a technique aiming to prepare teacher candidates for the real classroom setting, showing her peers how to play tennis and the technique behind the game. Photo by Shiah McLain

When it comes to being an educator, teachers find their enjoyment from the kids taking their class. Katie Morgan, senior, wants a job that she can both enjoy and have some fun from time to time, and she believes she can find those opportunities day to day from being a teacher.

“I was inspired to take the class because it’s my senior year and I want to start doing things that involve my future now and because I wanted a new experience,” said Morgan. “I do plan on becoming a teacher because I love kids and I want to enjoy what I’m doing with my life. “

The field of teaching can be extremely difficult and time-consuming. Some students might not want to comply with the lessons you have planned, while other students might get sick, causing you to have to email and work with them online. You may also have a small percentage that are simply lazy and not turn things in on time. Even though there are a fair amount of difficulties that cause extra hours in the evening and on the weekends, Buchanan still believes that the job is really fun and rewarding as well.

“It’s a very demanding career, but I think the demands are massive rewards. It’s so fun to see the impact on the kids. It’s so fun to hear them come back to me after they graduate and have chosen career paths based on your class. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding work,” Buchanan said.

Being a teacher isn’t just about giving your students a firm foundation in learning, but being an emotional backstop when needed as well. Hallie Jennings, senior, wants to ensure that her students get as much mental and emotional assistance as possible so  they can feel that the classroom is a healthy and caring environment.

“I want to be the kind of teacher that shows that they care for their students because relationships and personal connections with your students is so important. I want to be able to help them solve their emotional and mental problems,” said Jennings.

Teaching has changed Buchanan’s life in numerous positive ways. Not only does she enjoy taking part in activities like coaching and sporting events, but she also met her husband through teaching. His family is entirely made up of teachers and educators, so Buchanan was able to form a close bond with his family early on.

“Well I married a teacher, my mother-in-law is a teacher, my father-in-law is a teacher, my brother-in-law is a teacher, and my sister-in-law is a teacher. We’re all teachers and I would say it’s one of the coolest things,” Buchanan said. “We all have the same schedule and the same processes we talk about. It just is our life, Teaching is our life. Coaching, heading to basketball games, participating in schools, it gives you the opportunity to do all these extra things in your free time.”