2018 Southeast High School Teacher of the Year

High School Business Essentials, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship Christin J. Collins


Christin J. Collins
Southeast High School
9th – 12th Grade Business Essentials, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship

What motivated your career in education?
I have known I wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary school. I am passionate about children. I love helping and guiding them. I knew in my heart that my life’s calling was to become a teacher. However, “life” got in the way and I chose a different path out of high school. I attended medical school and ultimately changed my major and got a business degree so I could finally be finished with college and get out into the real world. After several years and multiple jobs, I realized that I was simply not happy. I was not being fulfilled. I was not passionate about what I was doing and my unhappiness was beginning to overflow into other areas of my life.

In the Fall of 2016, I was made aware of an opportunity at Southeast High School. There was a need for a Business Teacher. Through networking, I learned that my MBA qualified me to begin teaching with a temporary certificate and I was hired. I first began teaching in January 2017. I had no “education” experience, but I was determined to be a “good teacher”. I was quickly paired with a mentor who helped me work through many of my questions. I also enrolled in education courses to begin my full certification. One thing I quickly learned was that my scholars cared very little about what I knew because they did not know how much I cared for each of them. I put “relationships” at the top of my list. I was determined to get to know each of my students so I would be more equipped to meet them where they are and help them accordingly. I implemented activities like  “What’s Up Wednesdays” so my scholars had an opportunity to share their voices and opinions. I found that by giving them the opportunity to be heard, they were much more willing to listen to me!

What message about public education do you want to share?
I am currently working on my thesis for my Education Specialist Degree. The topic I have chosen is how attendance rates from K-12 impact grades, test scores, and on time graduation rates. This is especially apparent in low income districts. As teachers in KCPS, we have to find ways to get our scholars in school. We have to find ways to find value in earning an education. Lessons have to be engaging so our scholars want to be at school. We have to do a better job of finding solutions to problems that our scholars face which prevent them from attending school regularly. We need to hold ourselves, our scholars, our parents, and our community accountable and work together to solve this problem and shift the mindset to prove that education is powerful! It is my firm belief that no one group can close the education gap that plagues our urban schools. We will not progress as a community until we all work together to provide equal opportunities to all students.