The first standard in an official list of organizational principles that Educators Rising reveres is called “understanding the profession.” Anyone participating in Educators Rising activities and events should “learn about the profession to explore career opportunities, develop skills they need, and make informed decisions about pathways to accomplished teaching.” As a participant in the Educators Rising Illinois program here at Meridian, Junior Kyla Levy already demonstrates adherence to this particular standard, among many others.
Educators Rising and its affiliates seek to create a new generation of educators by showing young students a route from high school to college and directly into teaching careers. Their guiding vision is to create “a clear pathway in every school district in America for young people who want to service their communities as highly skilled educators.” Kyla takes pride in her involvement with the program as it’s opened her world up to classroom experiences she otherwise would not have had at this level. “It's basically a chance to learn and work with kids early,” she says. “It’s helpful to get you out of your comfort zone. You meet new people, try new things.”
She cites the inspiration to potentially become a future educator as “the kids.” Appropriately, the second standard on Educators Rising’s fundamental list is “learning about students.” The idea behind it is that “rising educators” can learn about who they are alongside finding out and helping students foster their own identities. By consecutively building on ourselves while helping those in their formative years, the thought is that educators can become better at relationship building, modeling healthy interaction, and more effectively supporting student development. If all that sounds too technical, let's just say Kyla’s heart is in the right place for a rising educator.
Kayla’s had a lifetime of experience with the third standard, even outside of Educators Rising. Number three, “building content knowledge,” is geared toward honing the skills of rising educators so they are more capable of creating unique and necessary learning opportunities in a classroom setting. Kayla’s expansive family in Mounds and born-and-raised community background has brought her into contact with situations where she's observed the presence or lack of an ideal opportunity to educate a young person. She’s building content knowledge in her life. After school, she’s in the kitchen cooking up a hearty pasta dish or taking advantage of the free time to paint and draw. Her sense of innovation toward food and art will no doubt foster openings with young people in the future to pass on practical, community-raised skills.
“Engaging in responsive planning” is the fourth standard of Educators Rising’s foundation. Rising educators “learn how to respond to students’ needs through thoughtful planning.” Kyla also has this standard covered. If she could speak to her younger self, she would help younger Kyla through responsive planning. She would advise her, “Probably don't grow up too quick and high school will go by fast. Just get out there more.” In the earlier grades, Kyla considered herself shy and has become more of an open book over the years. Through learning in her personal life, she now knows how to respond to a student’s need in a classroom that waits down the hall in her not-so-distant future. She’s developed a capacity in herself that will go on to service students in achieving their self-efficacy long into her days, and we couldn’t be prouder to have spoken to her now before she blows up the scene.