by Michael Smith
Ashley Burns has been a middle school science teacher for 12 years, and she couldn’t be happier with where her career is currently at.
She’s currently entering her fourth year at Grain Valley North Middle School, and it’s been like a second home to the Blue Springs resident as she enjoys working in the town.
Burns graduated from Blue Springs High School, got her Associate’s degree from Blue River Community College, and then attended the University of Missouri-Kansas City before getting her Master’s Degree in Teacher Leadership.
After she got her Associate’s Degree, Burns knew what she wanted to do for a living. Teaching children at the middle school level was what she had her heart set on.
“I always knew I wanted to do something to help other people and make an impact on other people,” Burns said.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so that’s why I got my associates. I had a science class I really liked at Blue River and I was tutoring my classmates. I realized I really liked helping them learn and study.
“I thought middle school would be a fun grade to teach. I think middle schoolers are special. They are in a transition period where they need a little extra guidance in their life. I think that's a good point in their life to get interested in science.”
Burns started her career teaching at Raytown Middle School for eight years before spending one year teaching at a middle school in the North Kansas City School District. After teaching for nine years, she wanted to teach in a smaller, tight-knit community. The Grain Valley School District fits that desire.
“The Grain Valley School District has a really good reputation,” Burns said. “I heard really good things about it. My brothers attended Grain Valley schools and they liked it.
“All the teachers are phenomenal and the administrators are awesome. This is the best school I have ever worked for. This is more of a small-town type of atmosphere than where I worked at Raytown and North Kansas City. This feels like a closer community.”
The science she teaches at Grain Valley North Middle School focuses on life science, biology and ecology. Burns said she likes to have her students do a lot of hands-on work. One of the more interesting projects she had her students do involved incubating and hatching chicken eggs.
She’s also enjoyed some of the extra things she got to go during assemblies on the last day of school and playing games against the students. One of those game included egg roulette where Burns got raw eggs cracked on top of her head.
“They do a lot of fun, team-building activities that I didn’t really get to do at other schools,” Burns said.
And she hopes to be doing those type of activities at Grain Valley Middle School North for years to come.
“Honestly, if I stay teaching, they are stuck with me. I am not leaving,” Burns said. “I feel like a part of the community.”