Brittany Horning

School Library Media Specialist

School was my safe place growing up. Many wonderful teachers supported me and my family through some difficult years, and I was inspired to teach as well, at a very young age.

In high school, I got to be a proctor for one of my math teachers, grading assignments and helping students. At the time, I thought I wanted to become a math teacher, but as part of a pre-teaching program during my senior year, I had the opportunity to visit an elementary classroom every day and assist the teacher. The experience sparked my interest in helping younger children and building relationships with kids who need a role model.

My first step toward becoming a teacher was to earn my bachelor’s degree in elementary education from a college in my home state of Indiana. Then my husband and I moved to Wichita, and I enrolled at Pittsburg State University to get a master’s degree in educational technology with an endorsement in library media.

I’m now a library media specialist at an elementary school in Wichita. I get to teach each grade about books, reading skills, internet safety and technology. I’m also the site technology specialist, which means I provide general tech support and train staff to use equipment in their classrooms.

I enjoy showing students that technology can be used as a tool, rather than just for games. I also love that I’m able to teach students of many ages and abilities. Someday, I hope to be able to train more teachers and staff on the many ways to use technology and how the internet can help students — I really enjoy teaching teachers and would like to do more of that in the future.

Looking back at my training, I’m extremely grateful for the pre-teaching program in high school. It let me gain classroom experience and see how a teacher really manages student behavior and curriculum. We also got to have discussion days about our experiences, which helped me make a decision about which college to choose.

If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, I suggest finding a similar pre-teaching experience. Schools are constantly evolving with changes in technology, classroom management and curriculum, and teaching will be nowhere near what you experienced as a student. Observe a classroom and help out for a while before making a decision — it’s best to know what you might be getting into before investing in an education. The same is true of any career field you may be interested in — take advantage of job shadow opportunities to get a better idea of what that job would be like on a day-to-day basis.