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00000171-73ce-d00a-a1f1-77ef7edb0000Kansas and Missouri have two of the youngest, least experienced teacher work forces in the country. Yet, the profession remains a challenging one that takes dedication and skill.How are schools in the Kansas City preparing teachers for the future? What effect will this have on our kids? Teaching It Forward is KCUR’s deep look at the changing nature of the teaching profession in Kansas City.

'Why I Teach': A First-Year Teacher Returns To The Historic Northeast

Julia Szabo

Name: Susana Ozaeta
Number of years teaching: 1
Grade: 6th
School: Gladstone Elementary, Kansas City Public Schools

"Their eyes lit up when they knew I was from the neighborhood." 

Susana Ozaeta grew up in Northeast Kansas City. As a child of immigrants she saw how uncomfortable her Spanish-speaking mother felt at her school.

In high school, Susana had her own struggles, feeling misunderstood by teachers who didn’t truly get to know their students. Susana says these experiences inspired her to become a teacher who would learn about her students and embrace families.

After four years at UMKC’s Institute of Urban Education, Susana will be in her old neighborhood teaching 6th grade. 

Julia Szabo contributed to this story. 

This story is part of KCUR's 'Teaching It Forward' project, which looks deeply at the changing nature of the teaching profession in the Kansas City metro. 

Kyle Palmer is the editor of the Shawnee Mission Post, a digital news outlet serving Northeast Johnson County, Kansas. He previously served as KCUR's news director and morning newscaster.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and award-winning podcasts.
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