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The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

The Student News Site of Gretna East High School

The Wingspan

Future teachers gain perspective at Educators Rising Expo

National award winning teacher, shares experience, inspires others interested in education
Melissa Ryan
After Ferial Pearson’s keynote speech, Educators Rising members Savannah Lloyd (11), Katie Albarran (11), Alli Miller (11) and Makayla Campbell (11) spoke with Pearson regarding her stories.

Grueling long hours, mental health concerns and stress run rampant in the education system. All of these factors have contributed to the local and nationwide teacher shortage. There has been report after report after report providing evidence as to why teachers are leaving the field and why students are avoiding the career. However, that hasn’t stopped four students in the Educators Rising club from pursuing their dreams of becoming teachers.

“I think the current education system abuses teachers and silences their opinions,”  Educators Rising member, junior Savannah Lloyd, said. “You want to be the best for your students and want them to feel welcome, but many factors, like administrations, prevent teachers from doing so.”

At the beginning of the month, members of Educators Rising went to the Educators Rising Expo at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where they heard from someone who influenced them and their path to becoming a teacher.

 Dr. Ferial Pearson, assistant professor in the College of Education at UNO, was the keynote speaker. As the author of the book, “Secret Kindness Agents: How Small Acts of Kindness Really Can Change the World,” Pearson advised the audience of Educators Rising members from throughout the state, to avoid burnout by focusing on themselves before getting wrapped up in work.

“Self-care is the number one most important thing of all,” Pearson said. “If you quit your job, the district will replace you in a day, but your family, loved ones, and friends can’t replace you. You have to take care of you, first.”

This, and some of her other stories, such as her experience with her child’s friend dying in the Sandy Hook School Shooting, her experiences with students participating as Secret Kindness Agents and her fight to implement a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at Ralston High School struck a chord with the Griffins in attendance.

“The fact that she was able to connect with her students no matter their experiences,  motivated me so much to become a teacher and one that has those bonds with students that last forever,” Lloyd said. “Bonds are what matters the most with students.

Lloyd said she aspires to be a high school art teacher so she can help inspire future artists. Other students in the club who intend to be teachers are juniors Kathryn Albarran, Allison Miller and Makayla Campbell. 

“I want to be a history or psychology teacher because I enjoy long discussions with students and engaging with students on pressing issues,” Albarran said.

In addition to hearing Pearson speak, the group also learned about other aspects of the education world and got advice for the future. 

“We talked with some of the students majoring in education,” Albarran said, “and they talked about all the different opportunities and scholarships we can get, like student teaching at some school districts could help pay for my education, which would help me teach sooner.”

 In the future, there are plans to have more meetings and opportunities where students can learn more about education, however, that will happen once Educators Rising sponsor, Spanish teacher Shea Miller, returns in November. For those who are interested in joining Educators Rising, membership is still open. Students are encouraged to email Miller indicating their interest.

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Onnika Moore
Onnika Moore, Editor
Onnika Moore is a junior at Gretna East High School. She was on the Gretna Media staff at Gretna High School for the past two year, and this year at Gretna East, she has earned an editor position. Her goals for journalism this year are to win State awards and build the program from the ground up. Journalism is the only school activity she is involved in, but with her free time, she enjoys drawing, reading and writing. She also loves to spend time with her two cats, Sprinkles and Cylis. 
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