Some individuals spend a great deal of their lives searching for a job that brings them success and contentment. Other individuals may be so fortunate that they find a fulfilling line of work without much trial and error.
For a few, their career path seems to be something they are born with. Such is the case for two first year Sedalia School District 200 educators, who sense their career choices are not jobs; it is something they are called to do.
“Even though I’ve only been at this a few days,” Travis Brobst, Smith-Cotton Junior High special services teacher, said, “I know this is what I really want to do with my life.
“I want to be in the classroom every day,” he added. “I may not have discovered it until later in life but I do feel I was born for this.”
Brobst, 25, graduated from Central Methodist University with a master’s degree in business. He has since completed his Master of Art’s in education.
After graduation, he began working for Edward Jones Investments and State Farm Insurance.
“When I first started to work, I found out very quickly that I really didn’t like having to sell things,” Brobst said.
Brobst began teaching a business course as an adjunct instructor at Moberly Area Community College while working in sales.
“I loved the education aspect of my work, and teaching others,” Brobst said, “I really didn’t feel that sales was where I wanted to be for the rest of my life.”
While his degree in business did not lead to a career, Brobst finds he uses his knowledge from that field daily in the classroom.
“A great deal of what I do is centered on organization,” Brobst said. “Teaching my students organization skills is a major part of my work, but I use those skills in working with them and their families. It is also very helpful with the paperwork I am responsible for.”
In a special service classroom, organizational skills are vital.
Brobst is limited to the number of students he may have in his classroom at any time because of the individualized instruction they require.
Although his class sizes may be smaller than a regular education instructor’s, he is more than likely teaching multiple content areas to students who are at differing grade levels at the same time.
“I want my students to learn content, of course,” Brobst said. “But I look at content as a way to hold my students accountable and teach them responsibility.
“That is the most important thing I want them to learn, how to be responsible for themselves,” Brobst added. “In the end, the most important thing I can do is help my kids become more independent, responsible adults.”
Brobst hopes he can convey to his students that in life everyone has to do things they may not want to do or like to do, but they are necessary.
“Sometimes it all comes down to, which battle are you going to fight today?” Brobst said.
“When I was in school, I really didn’t like math,” Brobst said with a smile. “I really didn’t like it at all; in fact I had a D in geometry, but I had an FFA teacher who I really liked and I liked my ag classes a lot. He told me if I wanted to go to the convention, I had to get my grade to a C.”
Brobst said that encouragement and motivation is one of the things he hopes to instill in his students.
Continuing his education is also part of Brobst’s plan.
“I’m working on my ed specialist degree right now,” he said. “If the opportunity ever presents itself I may go into administration, but I know that I always want to work with students in some capacity.”
Like Brobst, Megan Carver took a stop along the way before entering the classroom.
A kindergarten teacher at Parkview Elementary, Carver first went to college to become a pharmacist.
“I always knew I wanted to work with the public, and especially with children,” Carver said. “I thought if I worked as a pharmacist I could help children who were not feeling well.
“I really loved working with the people when I was a pharmacy tech, but it wasn’t what I had hoped it would be,” Carver added. “I realized after talking to my step-sister, Candice (Ditto), who is a teacher, that this is where I really wanted to be.”
After less than two weeks in her own classroom, Carver has bonded with her students and is impressed with their eagerness and abilities in the classroom.
“I’ve really been pleased with what they can do,” Carver said. “Right now I’ve been working with them to establish a routine and get them used to sitting for extended periods of time.”
Carver plans to implement cooperative learning in her classroom as a classroom management and behavior tool and to help teach her curriculum.
“I’ve been taught that a child’s age is their attention span,” Carver said. “If that is true, I have them for about five minutes before they are ready to move on.”
Because of those limited uninterrupted teaching moments, Carver has learned to be prepared.
As some students were completing one activity, Carver had papers for her students who had finished early to work on while the others completed their assigned tasks.
“Planning is so very important,” Carver said. “I stay a few hours after school every night to get ready for the next day.
“I know my students can’t have any down time,” Carver said with a smile. “I already have my behavior chart that I have used and I know I’m a little stricter right now but that will change as we find our routine.”
Carver commented that she does not have any bad students, only ones who are seeking more attention.
“We are all working on the fundamentals,” Carver added. “I am really fortunate that there are four other kindergarten teachers at Parkview.
“We all work together and plan the models for expected behavior from our students,” Carver said. “I know I can go to them or the other teachers and staff here at the school for help and advice.”
Carver did her student teaching last spring at Horace Mann Elementary and said the preparation she received there was invaluable.
“Some of the teachers I worked with there have called and offered help and advice and that means so much,” Carver said. “I really didn’t apply at many other districts because I truly wanted to work in Sedalia.”
With a degree in early childhood education from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Carver is certified to teach students from birth to third grade.
“I love my kindergartners and I want my students to learn as much as they can while they are here,” Carver said. “I really want to get to know them as the individuals they are.
“Even though I have just started my teaching career, I know this is where I want to be and what I want to do with the rest of my life.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.