Former Crusader editor finds true calling in teaching


“You’re not making any money, you know?” “You’re going to be broke all the time.” “You could make more money working at National Beef.”
Yeah, at this point I’m used to hearing all these things from various people in my life.
I’m currently student teaching 8th grade English at West Middle School, and I will be graduating from Fort Hays State University in May. My decision to become a teacher started after a few failed attempts at finding what I wanted to do. In the end, I chose teaching because I wanted to be an influential role in the life of a student, much like many of my teachers had done for me.
Unfortunately, many of my peers did not receive the same kind of positive support that I did while growing up. I even questioned my opportunity to continue my education after high school and after finishing at Seward. Like many teenagers in Liberal, the only idea that was ever presented to me was that I could go work at National Beef or another feedlot once I finished high school.
Surprisingly, my father supported my choice to finish college after I told him I wanted to transfer and receive a bachelor’s after finishing my associate degree at Seward. With the help and support of my family and one influential instructor in my life, I was able to transfer to FHSU and continue my education.
My first semester was rough because I was continuing the career path I followed while at Seward. I still wanted to get a journalism degree, but I saw no real options once I finished school. This was a terrifying realization for me because for two years I had dedicated my life to something I loved, but now I no longer seemed to find a way to continue pursuing this degree.
The moment I decided to be a teacher was when I realized what I really loved about being on staff at the Crusader: being a leader.
I was not without faults, and the newspaper issues my staff put out were not perfect, but we were dedicated to our product. So, I isolated the one benefit that always made me feel proud about being on staff –– the chance to motivate others and push them, even when they did not believe they were able to complete a task. Nothing made me happier than knowing that one of my staff members was passionate about an article they were writing or that they had received an award for their work.
So how does this relate to me becoming a teacher? Well, I thought long and hard and realized that I wanted to motivate others to push themselves. I enjoy watching others succeed. I enjoy seeing people overcome obstacles they set for themselves. Why? Because I’ve been there. I’m still there.
Every once in a while someone still tries to tell me that my career choice is dumb or that I won’t be making very much money. I politely shake my head and let it roll off.
People will always focus on the most obvious aspect of a job: money. However, the experiences that a teacher lives, and the lives that a teacher influences are truly priceless. I think back to all the teachers who pushed me to believe I could be more than a National Beef employee or that I could truly work any job I wanted if I worked hard enough.
Again, I expect to hear endless comments about how my career choice is dumb or how I won’t be making much money, but people will never understand how important it is to motivate the youth of today, especially when we are living in a world that tends to become so judgmental and pessimistic.
Take a moment to think about one teacher that influenced your life. We all have one. Let’s not stop advocating for these educators because their No. 1 priority was definitely not money.