There's no question elementary teachers Amy Bartlow and Kala Robinson have worked hard to become great educators since finishing PSU's education program last year.
It didn't take long for their efforts in the classroom to be noticed by their administrators. Bartlow and Robinson are recent recipients of the 2010 Kansas Horizon Award, an honor bestowed to 32 exemplary beginning educators across the state by the Kansas Department of Education. Bartlow and Robinson traveled to Topeka at the end of February to receive their awards and mingle with top educators from around the state at the Kansas Exemplary Educators Network, the state's annual education conference.
"Being a teacher has been awesome, but it's also one of the hardest things I've done," said Bartlow, who teaches in the Pittsburg, Kan., school system. "I want my students to be able to look at any problem, whether it's math, science, or a problem in their life or world, and know there are many ways to solve it. The message I try to get across to kids is that they can do whatever they want, they just have to put in the work."
For Robinson, who teaches in the Parsons, Kan., school system, helping children who are struggling at home feel safe and valued in her classroom is the first step toward helping them learn.
"You hear about the warm fuzzy feelings in education, but there were professors here who taught me about the reality," said Robinson. "Sometimes you have to teach kids who read on a lower level or work with those who have disabilities and don't qualify for support other than what you give them. But you have to connect with them and set expectations while letting them know school is a safe place."
Receiving an honor like this, said Robinson, leaves her with little doubt that she chose the right profession.
"It isn't an easy profession by any means," she said. "But I love my job. I wasn't made to do anything else."