By Alexis Newman
Teaching is so much more than lecturing from a textbook, and for Ruston High School’s Kelsey Whitlock, the most important thing a teacher can do is create positive environment and always prioritize the students’ needs.
Whitlock currently teaches English to 11th grade students, including the AP classes. This year is her seventh year of teaching.
Whitlock’s inspiration for pursuing a career in education came from the teachers she had in high school, who had a significant impact on her.
“When I was in high school, I was privileged to have some really great teachers and coaches who really cared for me and encouraged me,” Whitlock said. “When it came time to choose a career path, I knew I wanted to spend my life being what those teachers were for me.”
Despite saying that grading essays is not her favorite job duty, Whitlock does enjoy teaching students the necessary skills to compose an essay, including critical thinking skills. She said that her goals in teaching her English classes is to teach the students to be able to analyze information and both read and write critically.
“So many of my students say they hate to write, but they mostly lack confidence,” Whitlock said. “I truly love being able to build up their confidence and challenge them in their writing. It is so rewarding to see the look on their faces when their hard work pays off.”
As someone who became a teacher because of the good examples in her own life, Whitlock knows that teaching goes beyond the lessons and the curriculum. To her, teaching is an investment into the youth, and it is important to her to provide a supportive learning environment.
“So many of our children lack an encouraging voice in their lives and just need someone to listen to them and know them,” Whitlock said. “I want every child who enters my room to know that I see them, that I am for them, and that I want to see them succeed.”