South Carolina ASCD Blog

Today in South Carolina, the need for more quality educators continues to grow for a number of reasons: educators retiring, schools and districts working to make class sizes more manageable for teachers, and an increasing number of communities that are experiencing unprecedented growth and development. Currently, it is estimated that South Carolina’s post-secondary institutions graduate only half the number of teachers needed to serve in our state’s schools and classrooms.

Today in South Carolina, the need for more quality educators continues to grow for a number of reasons: educators retiring, schools and districts working to make class sizes more manageable for teachers, and an increasing number of communities that are experiencing unprecedented growth and development. Currently, it is estimated that South Carolina’s post-secondary institutions graduate only half the number of teachers needed to serve in our state’s schools and classrooms.

I started my teaching career in January 2001. Since I started my position as a high school ELA teacher mid-year, I already faced challenges: first, the students I inherited expected me to be like their former teacher. Clearly I was not, and this did not sit well with some students, which led to behavioral problems that I was not fully equipped to handle as a first-year teacher working hard to hammer down classroom management. Next, since I did not have the opportunity to start the school year with the students, I often times felt like the odd-person out. Couple all this with being new to the profession – I felt alone and isolated for that first semester. Other incidents during that one semester made me question my purpose and myself: Am I supposed to be here? Am I meant to be a teacher? Do I have what it takes to be an effective teacher?

As an Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education for your community and beyond?

The greatest effect I can have for my community is through continuous advocacy for education. As educators, we must raise our voices, be knowledgeable and fully aware of the impacts of legislative policies that either further support or work to destroy the foundations of public education. To me, advocacy means being proactive in a political climate that, too often, ignores the voices of educators. However, the educator is the voice of EVERY student and EVERY community. Through life-long learning and seeking out my own unofficial mentors, I continue to learn about the political process and as an educator, how I can be an integral part of the conversation that directly affects our students.

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