Becoming ‘that’ teacher


Her icy blue eyes widen and a smile crosses her face. Her whole presence lights up as she talks about one thing she loves the most: office supplies. Roaming the halls of Office Max is where this soon-to-be elementary school teacher finds solace.

For most teenagers, living with siblings or younger family members can be a bother. For Brooklyn Omstead, however, it is what shaped her future career plans.

“I want to be an elementary school teacher because I love working with kids,” she said. “I’m always around kids.”

When she was just 7, her father passed away, leaving her with a single mother and a home filled with younger cousins.

Despite these difficulties, she plans to continue on her path of teaching, which started at a young age. She grew up in a household and neighborhood that always seemed to be filled with children.

“I used to play ‘school’ with the little kids in my neighborhood,” she said, smiling.

Whereas most children play make-believe, Omstead was building her passion for teaching from an early age.

Currently, she lives with an infant, which she looks over, and has company from an 8 year-old cousin fairly often. She helps her cousin with homework, and babysits as well.

Watching her daughter interact with the children, her mother thinks the career path “fits” her because she “always want(s) to be around kids.”

Omstead said that her love for teaching students didn’t just stop with playing “school” with her neighbors, but deepened when she would stay at her elementary school’s after school program. What started off as just a place to stay while her mother worked late ended up being one of Omstead’s favorite places to be.

“Because (the program) was short staffed at my school, I would look over the younger adults,” she said. “Having to be a leader at such a young age, I am more prepared now and know how to handle those situations.”

Also strengthening her love for the career is her own experiences as a youth, and the teachers that noticed her potential.

“When I was younger I struggled in school,” she said. “I know what it feels like to be confused. But it took that one teacher to come along and help me. That’s what I want to do for kids, be that one good teacher.”