Kiowa County Educator Kathy Headrick
Name: Kathy Headrick
Subject you teach: K-8 Guidance Counselor
School: Kiowa County Elementary School and Kiowa County Jr. High School
Hometown: Jetmore, KS
Education: Bachelors in Secondary Education with a teaching certificate in English from Emporia State University; Masters in PK-12 Guidance Counseling from Northwestern Oklahoma State University
Family: Darin (husband); Slade (step-son); Kendra (daughter-in-law); Cody (step-son)
Interests and hobbies: Reading, music, travel, movies
Why did you decided to become an educator?
When I was in junior high, I went through a short period of time when I wanted to be a dental hygienist. However, for as long as I can remember before that and as soon as that short period of time was finished, I have wanted to teach. Some of the best people I have ever known have been teachers, both in schools and out of school. Because I wanted to have the same kind of effect on others, I knew it was the right career choice for me.
Who is a teacher or professor who inspired you and how?
My father, a farmer by trade, is probably the best teacher I have ever met. Anyone who could teach ME to operate a tractor and combine must be pretty good at instruction! My Aunt Julie was my third grade teacher and believed in me when I didn’t believe in my own abilities. My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Dierksen, helped me through one of the most difficult social years of my life. Mrs. Whipple, who taught my very least favorite class (math), was disciplined yet caring. It’s not often that the teacher of your least favorite class, becomes your favorite teacher! She was the most dedicated teacher I have ever met and as long as I teach, I don’t think I will ever match for another student what she did for me.
Who is someone in current events who you admire and why?
I’m not much of a football fan, but I’m most recently inspired by Tim Tebow. The media calls him divisive and controversial. People mock his beliefs, and so far, he simply remains steadfast, humble and hard-working. He’s the rare kind of athlete who doesn’t feel like it’s all about him. He’s a team guy. I really like that. Whether you share his
life views or not, people in all careers could learn a thing or two by his example. He believes strongly and feels compelled to share that with others, even when it causes mockery, ridicule, and criticism. We would all do well to know that kind of conviction. To believe so strongly that we couldn’t help but share our faith with others!
What are the greatest challenges in education today?
In my field, I spend a lot of time trying to teach kids how to share space with each other. We live in a very social world and if we don’t learn to work with people, get along with people, and enjoy people (even those who are different than us), life can get pretty complicated. For whatever reason, I feel like Americans are losing the ability to be civil to one another. We see a general disregard for respect from Hollywood to Washington, DC. It is becoming harder and harder to find people who know how to conflict-resolve and who can be tolerant of each other in the face of disagreement. That trickles down to students, and in my job, I think that is a huge challenge to overcome. Kids need role models who can dialogue (and even disagree) without sarcasm and back-biting, and that is difficult to find!
What advice can you offer for someone who wants to go into education?
Always remember that education for everyone (children and adults alike) is an ongoing process. Nothing happens overnight and in general, lessons learned may have to be learned over and over again. Being a teacher simply means you play a short role in that process. Sometimes that means you have to repeat yourself. Sometimes that means that kids don’t always heed sound advice. And always that means to remember that it’s not about you (how right you are, how wise you are, how much perspective you have). Your focus (and mostly your patience) has to come from knowing that you are playing a role in that child’s educational PROCESS--whether it is academic, social, emotional, or behavioral.
What teaching moment is most memorable?
I’m currently in my 18th year of teaching / counseling combined. It kind of shocks me to think I have been doing this for that long! And I have a lot of memories from those years. However, the most memorable thing for me is when a student takes the time to say thanks for helping, teaching, listening, caring. Paula Ripple, one of my cooperating teachers when I was student-teaching in Dodge City, encouraged me to make a “kudos” file--to keep the little notes that kids or parents give you while you are teaching. Educators all have days when they don’t feel very good at what they do....that’s when the kudos file comes in handy. It reminds me why I chose this profession. Each note serves as a reminder of students who impacted me as much as they say I impacted them. Those memories are precious and priceless!