For some, it’s a teacher who made a long-lasting impact. For others, it’s a passion for supporting children.
No matter where their inspiration comes from, their calling is the same: education.
Anna Herman and William Willis, senior middle school education majors at Missouri State University, are two future teachers who are applying their classroom knowledge to real-world experiences.
Supporting Title I schools
In April, Missouri State hosted its first-ever Middle School Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) Conference.
More than 400 eighth grade students spent the day on campus for a day of workshops taught by MSU students. The students all attend Carver Middle School or Reed Academy, both of which are Title I schools in the Springfield Public Schools district.
Schools receive Title I assistance when at least 40 percent of the student body participates in the free and reduced lunch program.
“The MAP conference is near and dear to my heart because I went to Reed,” said Willis. “Poverty is one of the biggest impacts on education and a child’s ability to move up in the world.”
Reaching and empowering these students, said Willis, can provide them with opportunities to achieve a higher quality of life.
“When children have access to quality education, it can open so many more doors,” said Willis. “Springfield does an amazing job with Title I schools, and we were just here to provide a little more assistance.”
Making an impact
For both Willis and Herman, this conference represented their first opportunity to lead a class on their own.
“When you write a lesson plan, you may think that it is going to be amazing,” said Willis. “But until you actually apply it to students, you never know how it is going to turn out.”
Being able to adjust to this unpredictability, said Herman, is vitally important for teachers.
“Although what you wrote might be perfect, it might not always go as planned, and that’s okay,” said Herman. “I think that’s the life of a teacher — to show your students that you won’t always be perfect, and you don’t have to be.”
Overall, it’s encouraging and bolstering the success of their students that drives their calling.
“I want to instill in them the pride that they can do it and they can be successful,” said Herman. “Getting to make those small impacts in students’ lives is incredible.”