Laqusha Locke is a 19 year old student at Fresno City College who would like to study Early Education/Child Development and become a preschool teacher. She is a Youth Journalist for The Know magazine and also sits on the Grants Advisory Board for Youth.
All this youth apathy, what is going on? Between October 2005 and October 2006, over 444,000 young people dropped out of high school, in the United States of America, and in 2006, 14.7% of those dropouts occurred in California. This is absurd!
This is enough. I refuse to be a spectator! I refuse to let another generation grow up unprepared to compete in the competitive global economy and unable to achieve their full potential. I have accepted my calling. I believe my purpose in life is to teach and spread love. What better way to fulfill my destiny than to be a preschool teacher?
I believe early childhood education will bridge our achievement gaps. Take a look around; kids who have been exposed to drugs, sex, and violence are succeeding in negativity, hence high rates of teen pregnancy, the expansion of juvenile detention centers and our high STD rates. If we expose our kids to education as early as we do all the things that do not benefit them, we would have an amazing and well-educated country.
Too many of our kids are being left behind. My current teacher, Ms. Rio, for my computer class told me last week that technology is advancing double each year, and that college students by their third year are often already out of date. Hearing this statement made me feel cautious. Me being out of date is the least of my worries, but what about the kids who do not have a pre-K education, how much further will they fall behind? On top of them lacking basic social skills, not knowing how to play cooperatively with others, or caring for themselves and their belongings.
I want to be a pre-K teacher because I love kids. I have loved them since I was a very young child. Literally, I have been changing pampers and taking care of babies since I was in kindergarten. I helped baby sit my little cousins and was an independent child. I don’t think people give children the support they deserve. Children are smart and intelligent; yearning to learn everything we have to teach them.
Our kids are bright and curious from the moment they are born. I want to guide them in the right direction. People are always putting limits on children, but I want to motivate them to go above and beyond, and the sky is not the limit. I want to be a pre-K teacher because I have so much love to give them, especially the ones who lack it at home. I know many children who lack attachment, a lasting relationship, or an emotional connection that allows them to bond with people.
In the summers of 2005 and 2006, I was a camp leader for Camp Drug Education for Youth (Camp DEFY). The kids who came to the camp were from less fortunate families. Each year, there were a total of 60 kids, and they were placed in six groups of ten. The camp lasts for a week, but within that week, those kids became very attached to me and I to them.
Knowing their background helped me plan my activities so they could gain all they could from the week. On the first day, I talked and made friends with as many kids as I could. With the shy ones, I would do my best to make them laugh so they would come out of their comfort zones. By the second day at lunch, I had got to know them all really well.
I have an eye for kids who have been hurt physically, mentally or emotionally. In the summer of 2006, there were two kids in my group who were dealing with problems at home. The kids opened up to me as if they had known me forever. I was so thankful and humbled that they would trust me with their secrets, their problems, and their dreams.
I fell in love with those kids so fast. The connection I had with them was surreal. The attachment we built with one another, I knew, would stick with us for a lifetime.
Non-attachment is harmful to the brain, but with it comes intelligence, and a foundation for intellectual thinking.
When I become a pre-K teacher, I will pursue it in Fresno. Fresno is in need of better early childhood educators. I live in West Fresno, the most impoverished part of Fresno, and I see many children with potential for success yet are being steered in the wrong direction, especially in the African American community. I feel like some of their parents don’t care about their futures. I see and hear many children singing songs, knowing every dance step to a music video, and can beat me in almost every video game, yet they don’t even know their ABC’s! There is something very wrong with that picture.
Kids mean the world to me. In spite of other people’s apathy for their future, they are the future. I am a young, African American woman, and I want to give back to my community through education.
This article was previously posted on the YO! Youth Outlook website here.