Impact Stories » Wycla Bratton: 7th Grade Guided Reading Teacher

Wycla Bratton: 7th Grade Guided Reading Teacher

Wycla Bratton knows from personal experience how much a teacher can positively impact an individual student. His eighth-grade history teacher instilled the belief that education is vital for life success – and also taught him that being an influential instructor takes more than just leading daily classes.

Besides being an effective educator, Wycla’s history teacher cared for his students individually, often asking about situations at home. It was an uncommon experience for Wycla in urban Kansas City schools.

“I didn’t realize it then, but that teacher was setting a foundation for the importance of education in my life,” Wycla says. “All I knew was that he cared for me and that I was excited to go to his class every day. I want my students to know they have a teacher who cares, too.”

Growing up, Wycla overcame frequent moves and an unsteady home life to follow in the footsteps of that influential teacher. He resolved to do something great with his life, rather than repeating what he had experienced as a child.

He graduated as valedictorian from Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, and was the first person in his family to go to college. Even though his family struggles didn’t stop, Wycla persevered to set an example for his younger siblings, graduating with an education degree from the University of Missouri.

As a seventh-grade guided reading teacher at the Kauffman School, Wycla gets excited about the results the school is generating.

“When I see our students’ scores compared with the same zip codes in the same city, I realize that my city produces great kids, but needs more people who believe in them,” he says. “Teachers who work here are centered on the scholars, on changing their stories. We’re preparing our scholars to be the best people they can be in their communities.”

Asked about the support he gets as a Kauffman School teacher, Wycla laughs.

“What support am I not getting? Everything that’s critical to being effective – lesson plans, organization, dealing with the occasional sense of overwhelm – there’s a program in place to help,” he says. “Being here will make me the teacher I always dreamed of being.”
“I want my scholars not only to learn content, but to leave each class thinking about ways they can improve, understanding their importance in the community and feeling like they have a voice. I want them to say, ‘I learned about myself today.’” -Wycla Bratton