By UNIVERSITY RELATIONS
This past October, Fort Hays State University’s Admissions Office and the Department of Teacher Education hosted the third annual Future Educators Day. This event brings together area high school students interested in the teaching profession and the best teachers in Kansas. The goal of this event is to inspire the next generation of teachers through personal interactions, discussions, and examples of dynamic teaching.
This year’s event brought over 70 students and guests from 17 area high schools to the FHSU campus. These potential future educators, high school juniors and seniors, had the opportunity to observe and interact with the Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) team, learn about teacher preparation at FHSU, meet with department representatives and explore their programs, as well as participate in scholarship drawings.
Dr. Chris Jochum, chair of FHSU’s Department of Teacher Education, was excited to host so many area students in person this year. “It is great to have so many students and from such a variety of schools visit this year,” he said. “We hope to introduce students early to the idea of teaching and demonstrate all the possibilities that FHSU has to offer.”
“While the teacher shortage within Kansas and across the country is a real concern, I think it’s also important to highlight events like these which demonstrate the importance of the teaching profession and that there are high school students interesting in teaching as a career,” Jochum said.
FHSU Provost, Dr. Jill Arensdorf, began the day welcoming everyone. In her opening remarks, Arensdorf encouraged students to make a difference, noting that Kansas currently has over 500 teaching vacancies that districts are struggling to fill.
Dr. Paul Adams, Dean of the College of Education at FHSU, encouraged students to embrace “a life of adventure” and challenged them to be willing to explore, saying, “You don’t know where teaching will take you.” Adams recounted some of his own adventures since becoming an educator, ones that have taken him across the United States and around the world.
The 2022 Kansas Teacher-of-the-Year team, which includes the top eight teachers, provided an interactive presentation centered around the theme of making connections. Entitled “Taking Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students from Surviving to Thriving,” the team focused on the importance of teachers connecting personally with all students.
One of the responsibilities of the KTOY team is to provide expert knowledge and experiences to current and future teachers. This year, the 2022 team, including the 2022 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Suzanne Stevenson, made its very first stop at Fort Hays State University.
The KTOY team led many activities where participants connected with others at the event, demonstrating the relative ease of making connections to others. Stevenson stressed to participants, “you will need to step outside of your comfort zone and make these connections.”
Other activities at the event included opportunities for visitors to interact with current education majors. This question and answer session allowed potential future educators a real behind-the-scenes look at the education program at FHSU. Additionally, students were able to learn about FHSU programs, majors, and other campus opportunities.
The final activity of the day included a drawing for scholarships. The FHSU School of Education awarded four $250 and two $500 scholarships. The FHSU Admissions Office provided three $1,000 awards. A fourth $1000 scholarship was awarded thanks to the generous donation by Barbary and Craig Ramsey.