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Learning to teach

8/10/2014

From the first time she stepped foot into a second-grade classroom as a junior helper, Rachel Linch's future was set.

From the first time she stepped foot into a second-grade classroom as a junior helper, Rachel Linch's future was set.

She wanted to be a teacher.

"I fell in love with how kids get excited to learn," she said.

Linch is a Fort Hays State University senior majoring in elementary education, special education and English as a second language, with a minor in leadership studies.

She's a past president of the University Activities Board, and participates in Tigers in Service projects when she has time.

She graduated from Lexington (Neb.) High School in 2011.

This is her third summer working as a paraprofessional at Pershing Elementary School summer school in Lexington.

During summer school, the students work on academics such as reading and math in the morning and have fun activities, such as swimming, in the afternoon, Linch said.

Working one-on-one with a first-grader who had a behavior disorder made her want to minor in special education.

"I found he could learn if you listened to him and took time to understand him," she said.

Growing up in a town where English was a second language for a large section of the population, she saw them "struggle to learn the language. I want to be there to help them."

She visited the FHSU campus in the fall of her senior year.

"I know it sounds cliche, but the campus felt like home," Linch said.

Despite that feeling of home, she visited a university in Nebraska and planned to go there instead of FHSU, but changed her mind.

"I knew Fort Hays was where I needed to be," she said.

* Judy Sherard, HDN