Olivia Carner, a 2016 University of Kentucky graduate, and Lizz Weir, a 2016 Notre Dame graduate, are roommates and second year TKY teachers. Olivia teaches STEAM and robotics at Knight Middle School and Lizz teaches math at East Oldham Middle School. They delivered this speech to a gathering of Teach Kentucky recruits.
Two years ago, two college seniors who were both finishing degrees in accounting decided to take a plunge. We traveled from our respective colleges to Louisville, Kentucky to learn about becoming alternative certification teachers in an urban school district. Two months later, bags packed we moved here to begin our teaching careers and never looked back. Being accountants by trade, number are kind of our thing, so here are the top ten reasons we think you should do the same.
Teach Kentucky holds a special place in our hearts as it not only brought us fulfilling careers, but an enduring friendship (we just celebrated our two-year “friendiversary” on Facebook). To be able to have a cohort to support you during the transitional time into teaching is invaluable. The Teach Kentucky family quickly becomes more than just colleagues and has led us to form some wonderful friendships.
- Endless Support
Teach Kentucky does an incredible job providing all the resources to help you become successful as you embark on your journey as an educator. Teach Kentucky has such a unique way of providing personalized support, whether it is a visit from Isabel to your classroom, the caring professors at U of L, or a veteran TKY-er coaching you through your first year. There is always someone in your corner to cheer you on throughout the difficulties of the first year of teaching.
- You are NEVER bored
From the moment you join Teach Kentucky, you are whisked away to a myriad of activities: classes, city scavenger hunts, dancing lessons and more. This excitement continues once you arrive in your classroom; kids have a tendency to keep you on your toes, and there are no two days that are ever alike. If that’s not enough, there is almost always someone begging you to relive your glory days and coach a sport or extra-curricular.
- You have the BEST stories
Kids do bizarre things. Strange things. Weird, crazy, nasty, things. All Teach Kentucky teachers can probably recall a time or two (or 37) that a kid did something completely unexpected, something that they probably didn’t even think was humanly possible. Those stories make you the life of the party at social gatherings, and your friends and family can’t wait to hear the next ridiculous story from your students.
- You are on the cutting edge of education
Being part of Teach Kentucky immerses you in a wonderful graduate program that arms you with the tools to teach students skills for the 21st century. The MAT program provides a network of forward thinking individuals more than willing to share their wealth of knowledge with you and advance your classroom to the next level. I (Olivia) teach robotics, and I am still awestruck daily when my students are able to apply the skills I have taught them to build and code simulations of elevators, and more so that through this they develop critical knowledge in perseverance and troubleshooting.
- Your New Home
We did not grow up here in Louisville, but it has quickly become our home. There is no way to know what to expect when you move to a new city, but the people here are incredibly welcoming, which quickly puts you at ease. There is plenty to do, whether it’s exploring the plethora of fantastic restaurants, enjoying one of the many parks, or bonding with your fellow TKY cohort. Whatever your interests are, there is a place for you in Louisville.
- The Food
We had to mention food. Mainly, the farmer’s market omelets which are a prominent summer Saturday hang out spot for Teach Kentucky veterans. The food in this city is truly amazing, but that alone is not what makes it list-worthy. It is the support and ability to connect with Teach Kentucky colleagues regularly in a casual setting, swap stories, laugh, and maybe feel a little bit better about the “bad teacher moment” you may have had that week. That is a testament to the poignant and unique culture that is the foundation of Teach Kentucky.
- Always Learning
We learn something new about ourselves, our students, or our teaching practice every single day. Teaching is a remarkable career because there is constantly room to grow. We love learning new strategies to incorporate into our teaching or different ways to get to know our students better. As a teacher, you are surrounded by colleagues who are also trying to advance the teaching profession, and it is powerful to learn from peers who have a similar desire for growth.
- A Challenge
We are sure many of you, like us come from a lifetime of extreme competitiveness and over-achieving. That will not happen in year one. While there are times that are difficult and extremely humbling, teaching is the most worthwhile challenge to get up and take on each morning. Whether it is building relationships, providing the support a student needs, or learning how to do whatever 2018’s version of the dab is, there is both a challenge and a sense of accomplishment in everyday.
- Making a Difference
This wouldn’t be a list about the top ten reasons to become a teacher if we didn’t include the fact that you are making a difference in the lives of students every time you go to work. We love the fact that we have an impact on others’ life constantly. Teaching is no easy job, and the challenges can be incredibly difficult to overcome. However, every time you see a kid “get it” for the first time or smile when you give them encouraging words, your hard work becomes worth it. As a teacher, you really are shaping the future, and you have the power to help make that future bright.