“It’s a very rich time to be a teacher.”
“It’s a very rich time to be a teacher,” said Ken Weaver, dean of the Teachers College. “It’s a great opportunity to be creative, and it’s a wonderful time to have them here on campus.”
Weaver said Kansas is divided into four regions. Each region selects one elementary school teacher, and one secondary teacher to nominate for the KTOY award. Each candidate must then put together a portfolio, which is then scored by a panel.
Next, the teachers must submit videos of their teaching philosophy, as well as videos of themselves giving a mock high school graduation address, which they are also scored on.
Finally, teachers are filmed teaching in their own classrooms. One of the teachers is then selected as the KTOY, while the runners up comprise the team. The team then meets with state representatives and tours several Kansas universities, giving presentations on teaching. This year, ESU was the first stop.
“I’m really excited, since I graduated from Emporia State University, to have an opportunity to meet with people and talk with them,” said Colleen Mitchell, English language arts teacher at Walnut Elementary School, 801 Grove Ave.
Mitchell was one of the teachers nominated for the award, and she was also a recipient of the Kansas Master Teacher award for 2012. Mitchell said each teacher who was nominated has a different area of expertise they have brought to the team, but they all still have a common thread as teachers.
The goal of the KTOY team, Mitchell said, is to be spokespeople for education. They have to address topics such as how to keep people in the profession, how to attract new people to it, new classroom technologies and the common core standards. Mitchell said on Monday the team presented to around 185 students at ESU, mostly sophomores and freshmen, about topics in education.
“I was really engrossed in a conversation with (Christy) Schrock out in the parking lot, and just being able to meet someone like that, who is an expert in the field of common core…who greets you with open arms, and tells you how proud she is of you – I don’t think there’s many colleges where you would get that kind of experience,” said Scott Keltner, ESU alum and member of the team.
The team also hosted a press conference at the end of the day, answering questions on a variety of topics in education, such as the recent move to arm security guards in schools.
Mitchell spoke on the security measures in the Emporia school districts and said it is important for the community to be involved in security measures, but she did not believe that arming security guards was the proper approach to school safety.
Another panel member also spoke about the a meeting with the Topeka school district superintendent and their districts’ policy of arming security guards and noted that many school districts were choosing to go that route, but that she, personally, was against it.