School administrators discuss today’s education challenges with future teachers

From left, Jim Roberts, Jeff Hendrix, Andrea Mobley and Jake Allen speak to future teachers at the School of Education

When it comes to preparing for a job in education, get experience working the classroom as soon as you can: that was one piece of advice given to School of Education students from four superintendents and assistant superintendents from around Indiana. The seminar, sponsored by the INSPIRE Living-Learning Center, was one of many opportunities students have to hear from teachers and administrators throughout the semester. It was also a chance to hear how policy currently being debated in the Indiana legislature could affect the future of teaching around the state. 

Jeff Hendrix, superintendent of School Town of Munster in Munster, Indiana, advised future teachers to get involved and pay attention to politics in Indiana, especially as decisions are made about testing and teacher pay.

“Everyone has to go through a classroom to get somewhere in life, and their success is based on what that teacher does in the classroom,” Hendrix said. “The more you connect with kids, the better they’re going to be. This profession is probably the most important profession to be in right now because it will make a difference in everyone’s future.”

Another pressing issue affecting the classroom is one from outside the classroom: the opioid crisis. Jim Roberts, superintendent of Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation in Columbus, Indiana, discussed what his district has done to deal with this challenge, including looking outside the school system for help.

“I don’t think any of us can do school anymore without involving the community in our efforts,” he said.

Jake Allen is assistant superintendent at Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation in Mooresville, Indiana. His advice to students as they interview for teaching jobs was to ask how they would be supported as first-year teachers. 

“Now more than ever, you all have to enter the classroom ready to go. I don’t think we really have the amount of time we used to [have] to develop,” he said. “Take advantage of getting into the classroom. Observe but also push the envelope and get involved with the students.”

Despite the challenges, Andrea Mobley, Assistant Superintendent at Monroe County Community School Corporation in Bloomington, called being a teacher one of the most rewarding careers.

“It’s a joy every day,” she said. “Every day is different. The first few years are difficult but so rewarding.”