Future educators from FGCU on what inspires them to teach

Published: August 3, 2022 11:43 AM EDT
Updated: August 3, 2022 6:05 PM EDT

WINK News anchor Corey Lazar sat down with teaching students at Florida Gulf Coast University to see what keeps them encouraged and inspired to teach as the new school year approaches.

Collier County teachers and staff are headed back to campus on Wednesday to decorate their rooms and get ready for students next week. Future educators are eager to graduate and get a classroom of their own, even though the teaching profession has come under pressure in Florida.

“I want to teach elementary students; I’m okay with anything from K until fifth grade, because I love all of them the same,” said Van-Jay Haughton. “Actually, let me change my mind. I like kindergarten and first grade.”

Haughton is very passionate about becoming a teacher and ready to hit the ground running once she graduates from FGCU. What did she say inspires her to teach?

“I think it’s, like, the little light in kids’ eyes when they learn something new,” Haughton said. “When like they sparkle, or when kids are little, when you teach them new words, phrases and things.”

Between a strong focus on what teachers can and can’t teach, limits on what can be discussed in class and the terror of school shootings, being a teacher is more challenging than ever before. These students seem undaunted by the prospect of joining the educational front lines here, in many ways.

Madison Franz. Credit: WINK News

Madison Franz is also in school to become an elementary teacher. She is fully aware of the reality that she may have to protect her students if violence breaks out.

“It’s something that terrifies me,” Franz said. “Because, even though I feel like I’ve been very well prepared for other aspects of instruction here at FGCU, you can’t teach that. You can’t say, ‘How do you barricade yourself in a classroom? How do you protect students?’ And it’s something I hope that I never experience.”

When it comes to navigating through all the new standards in the classroom—measures that ban the teaching of critical race theory and the use of social-emotional learning in textbooks—these two future teachers say they are ready to learn from their administrators and follow protocols set by their school districts.