Education student stays with field despite Conn. school shooting

Education student stays with field despite Conn. school shooting

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"It's just your job to be able to think through situations and be able to protect those kids the best you can," said Pellissippi State student Kayla Turner. "It's just your job to be able to think through situations and be able to protect those kids the best you can," said Pellissippi State student Kayla Turner.
"They took the safety and needs of the children first," Dr. Benner with UT's education program said. "They took the safety and needs of the children first," Dr. Benner with UT's education program said.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After another devastating school shooting left the nation in shock, some in education are having second thoughts about the field.

Among the heroic stories coming out of the tragedy, teachers played a vital role. At least one of the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School was reported to have used her own body to shield her students from the shooter.

On Monday, 6 News spoke to one young person looking to become teacher and an educator, to see if a tragedy like this has made her rethink her chosen profession.

After graduation, Pellissippi State sophomore Kayla Turner hopes to become an elementary school teacher. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School has done nothing to alter her career plans.

"It's definitely scary knowing that I'm going to put in that classroom setting, and you never know when things are going to occur," said Turner. "It is definitely nerve-racking, I have such a passion for it. I think that it, just think it wants me to be there more."

Director of the University of Tennessee's student teaching program, Dr. Susan Benner says the actions of the teachers in Connecticut were nothing short of heroic.

"They took the safety and needs of the children first," Dr. Benner said. "I'd like to think our graduates would find that right balance between not doing anything foolish, but understanding they are the responsible adults and need to do what they do for the children."

Benner oversaw students who were teaching at Inskip Elementary and Central High School at the time of those school shootings.

While some left the profession after those tragedies, most remained teachers, Benner says.

"For the most part, it's a renewed commitment and compassion for the children in these schools, and the desire to make a difference in these children's lives," she said.

Even though Kayla Turner is not a teacher yet, she fully knows the responsibilities that come with the job.

"It's just your job to be able to think through situations and be able to protect those kids the best you can," she said.

The UT student teaching program currently has 180 student teachers in local school. Many are placed in school districts that have armed security guards and are exposed to those safety protocols.

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