By Caitlyn Kirby
Teaching has been portrayed online as a job that demands much of your time with little pay, a career where the teacher’s approach of doing their job is picked apart by unsupportive parents.
A survey by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education found that 19 percent of undergraduate-level and 11 percent of graduate-level teaching programs saw a significant drop in enrollment this year.
Students, student teachers, and a substitute teacher at Delta High School however are able to look past the negative parts of a teaching position to see that it can be extremely rewarding and worth pursuing.
“I’ve had a lot of teachers throughout the years help me when I needed someone, so I want to pay it forward and help out some other kids someday,” senior Mackenzie Jenkins says.
Jenkins has wanted to be a teacher on and off since second or third grade but only recently decided that she wants to be a high school music teacher.
Jenkins says that high schoolers are usually more disciplined and open to learning new things. She likes that she can do more complicated pieces with them.
In the first semester of her senior year, Jenkins served as a teacher’s assistant for Ms. Elana Camp’s first period class, concert choir. This was a different experience for her than her usual chamber choir class.
“I definitely learned different things than I do in my choir,” Jenkins says. “She uses different opening exercises, and she’s just a different type of teacher in each class. Each class requires a special way of teaching so it helped me grasp that kind of thing.”
Jenkins says that she saw all of the extra time and effort put in by Ms. Camp, who had to make separate recordings of each piece for each part (base, tenor, soprano, and alto). Each class of hers has different pieces. The extra time that it took Ms. Camp to do this was taken away from her two boys, Dean and Ollie.
Jenkins says that she saw this made Ms. Camp’s job much more difficult and time consuming but because Jenkins has such a big love for music, she is willing to take the chance of having to do that with her own classes in the future.
Ms. Camp’s student teacher, Ms. Grace Arndt, studies music education at Ball State University. She has been at Delta the entire semester so far and will continue student teaching at Delta until the end of the school year. She experienced both sides of online learning.
“I was experiencing both being a student struggling through Covid online and also trying to teach students who are struggling online,” Arndt says.
Though e-learning made both being a teacher and a student much more difficult, she is thankful that we are able to continue school online whereas 50 years ago we wouldn’t have been able to during a pandemic.
She says that she would recommend teaching to students if it is something that they are interested in. “It’s a very rewarding job and it’s something that’s not going to be the same every day,” Arndt says.
Mr. Laurenzo Sims-Jones, who is a substitute teacher at Delta, has two years left of college at Ball State University before he can become an English teacher. Sims has wanted to be a teacher since his days as a high school student at Muncie Central.
He says that there will always be a need for teachers and despite all of the issues that get thrown into the world of education, he can’t see himself doing anything else.
Though Sims’ position as a sub is random from day to day, he enjoys interacting with students and being as helpful as he can.
Being in college during Covid’s initial strike was hard.
“I feel fortunate to have a goal that has been worth holding onto, though,” Sims says.
Before becoming a substitute, Sims was unsure of whether he wanted to stay in education, but being in a school every day has helped him further his desire to become a teacher.
Cassidy Reader, a senior, has been an intern for Mrs. Julie Marshall’s class at Eaton Elementary since the beginning of this school year.
“E-learning made me question whether or not I was making the right decision to go into teaching because I saw how difficult it was for teachers to actually relay information to students,” Royal says.
Through Covid and the current problems surrounding teaching, Royal decided to follow through with a teaching career because she felt that it was important that there are still people going into a teaching profession.
Royal says that she didn’t know what to expect when she started interning but so far she has enjoyed the experience.
“Interning has shown me how rewarding teaching can be and how important it is for some students to have that role model in their lives,” Royal says.
Mr. Jon Dee, who works at Ball State University with seniors in the student teaching internship, says that given the pandemic, students have become more resilient.
“They’ve had to develop skills that previous generations of teachers did not have to deploy in order to remain active, engaged, and flexible with their teaching and students,” Dee says.
He believes that the numbers for students interested in the profession are down because online teaching is here to stay and teachers will now need that additional skill set to be well rounded in the profession.
“We want people to become teachers who welcome these challenges and are up to the task of preparing children to be great citizens and lifelong learners,” Dee says.
As all of these future teachers can agree, there is no greater profession that will have a positive impact on society.