Tell us about your career.
I am a mother of three and a High School English teacher at Battery Creek High School (Beaufort, SC), which is pretty awesome since I was a graduate there back in 2008! I received my B.A. in English from USCB in 2013, which was my first step towards teaching. During my final weeks at USCB, I applied for the PACE program with the South Carolina Department of Education. After they view transcripts and process paperwork, they give you a certification area, mine is in Middle Level Language Arts and Secondary English (basically grades 6-12). After that, there is a PRAXIS test related to your English background, once you successfully pass, you’re in. I succeeded the first try, then began seeking employment.
PACE guides you to certification by holding summer institutes to make up for all the "educational" instruction we did not receive in college as Literature lovers, rather than education majors. Beaufort County School District is wonderful for new teachers. They provide you with mentors (who you see weekly) and seminars throughout the year to guide you in all foreign areas: lesson planning, classroom management, technology incorporation, differentiation-- you name it. While teaching at BCHS this past year, I completed my M.Ed. in Curriculum and Education with a Concentration in ESOL.
What do you like about your job?
Teaching has unlimited joys, but my most cherished is the relationships built with students. It seems many are never eager to sit through an English class, especially in high school -- there's no way anybody sane enjoys reading and writing. Once you form bonds with the students and understand what they give a hoot about, the privilege of forming a positive relationship between your cherished Literature and the "I hate English class" student, is an extraordinary moment.
How has something you learned in English at USCB helped you in your career?
I cannot begin to appreciate all of the reading assignments and horrid papers forced from my fingertips at USCB! While I had days (many, many days) that I thought Dr. Hoffer could have assigned only one of three poems instead of all three, or perhaps Dr. Kilgore would not make us memorize and recite lines in front of the class, I'm now ever so grateful. USCB has an awesome English crew, and now that I am teaching my own gang of seniors British Literature, I find elements adopted from them seeping through my pores! Yes, one day, you will get the crazy looks from students, that you once gave your professors when they taught their most beloved text-- scary, I know!
My best advice I can give to those on the path to an English degree is to stick with it. We know that none of our friends with other majors understand the stress we go through, but it is well worth it. You don't have to be a walking dictionary or a grammar guru, and it's expected to admit you may have missed a few reading assignments along the way. Once it all is over, you'd gladly repeat the torture again, because it's what we English folks love.