College: Florida State University
Age: 23 (24 tomorrow-Happy early birthday!)
Occupation: Math 1 Teacher at South Atlanta School of Law and Social Justice
1. Describe your job in three words: Crazy, diverse, rewarding
2. What was your first day of teaching like? Wow…all I remember is hearing the kids walking up to the classroom and starting to panic. I remember thinking…what the hell am I doing? What am I even going to say to these kids? Why did I think this was a good idea?
3. I know some of your students called you Barbie before. What role do you think your race has played in your teaching experience? I think it played a huge role. Not only have barely any of the students I teach had a white teacher before, many also had negative feelings about white people in general (sometimes rightfully so). I think it was interesting for them to have a white person care about them since they come from communities of entirely African Americans. Some of my students have told me they don’t even consider me white…because I don’t “act white”. This always makes me laugh because at the end of the day, my biggest prayer is that I give them a positive impression of the white race and that there is a life outside of South Atlanta with MANY people who accept and embrace diversity.
4. You’re 23. Not that much older than your students. On the same note, what role do you think your age has played in your teaching experience? Well I lie to them about my age because I really am SO CLOSE to their age. Many of my students are 16-17, which makes me only 6 years older than them, so it’s easier for them to just think I’m a little older. They’ll take any excuse to not respect you. Pretty much all of my students think I’m 29…and I think I look pretty darn good for 29 : )
5. This broke your heart: I have a 9th grade student who had her 2nd baby in the middle of the year. Meeting her mother and multiple siblings has really made me realize how much her environment has hindered her from being successful. I also had a moment when I tested all of my students and found that they average around a third grade level…in the 9th grade. I had to turn the lights off and just sit for a minute. When you start to grow attached to your students, it is really hard to swallow that a very capable 9th grader is operating at a third grade level.
6. This gave you hope: Over 50% of my students passed their EOCT at the end of the year. These students come to tutorial three days a week, all day Saturday, and they use every last minute of their class time. They are determined to move forward and it makes it much easier for me to guide them in that direction.
7. One thing you’ve learned from teaching? Patience! I learned I have none and certainly learned I need more. I also learned what hard work really looks like. There is not a job I will be given that I won’t be able to figure out.
8. What do you hope your students say about you? That I care about them as individuals, not as a student in my math class. I want them to see value in themselves and have confidence in who they can become. Math means nothing…test scores mean nothing…they do as people.
9. Who was your favorite teacher growing up and why? I had a teacher in 6th grade named Mrs. Keller. I remember her making everything into songs and games (songs I still sing). She was my first teacher who made learning fun and exciting. She also was the first teacher who talked a lot about how important it was to be a good person and make good decisions.
10. In ten years you will be… well, this is a hopefully. I trust I will be exactly where I am supposed to be. I will hopefully be a mom, a wife, and have a successful finance job. I want to work to play…life is so much better that way!