Some might ask why did I become a teacher. I became a teacher because of the impact I saw I had on students and their education, my need to serve my family and the community, and the desire to fulfill my purpose.
I realized I had an impact on students and their education in 1987. I lived in Marietta, Georgia at the time raising three children and a husband in Chiropractic College. There was a private school a few blocks away from our apartment. I desperately wanted my children to attend Cobb County Christian School (CCCS) but could not afford the tuition. After speaking with the principal, I was offered a janitorial position to offset the tuition. I was very excited and cleaned the classrooms after school and became the room mother during the day for my sons’ kindergarten class. A few months later I was called into the Principal's office. The Principal saw that I had a background in computer science and offered me a temporary teaching position in math to fill in for the teacher who resigned. He gave me the materials to study and prepare and I studied Pre-Algebra, Algebra I & II, and Geometry. Monday morning I was ready and the students were very attentive as I reviewed and taught new concepts. As I read faces and looked into the eyes of students hungry for knowledge, I knew I was connecting and making an impact. After each class students thanked me, and little did they know how thankful I was for them making me feel like I made a difference.
A math teacher was not found that year so I was able to continue teaching. I still served as room mother which led to fundraising, then the senior prom coordinator. After the first year, I received the National Association for the Advancement for Colored People volunteer award, I also began working at the Lemon Street Library after school tutoring students in the community. I remained at CCCS for four years and then moved to DeKalb County where I went back to school at Georgia Perimeter College and could only take one class per semester during the school year and two to three classes in the summer. I worked in the math lab helping students who struggled in class.
I began to open my home to other children in the neighborhood who struggled in math. It was good for my children as well because they enjoyed having friends over. Other parents were willing to get involved and students were getting tutored in math, science, and English. By the time I started teaching high school, having kids over on Saturday’s was a normal occurrence. Math was not just a job, but a lifestyle, a passion, and something that I loved.
Before my children went to school I was a homemaker. I taught them how to read by age four. I taught fractions in the kitchen as they helped me cook, and geometry (lines and angles) as each one took turns sitting on my lap as I sewed. I prayed to God that He would show me what my purpose was, and I believe my desire to teach was always in me.
Awards and recognition are not received because you chase it, it is received because someone is recognizing something that you are passionate about. Throughout my years of teaching, my challenges have been finding ways for students who do not understand to understand and my unorthodox way of teaching such as cooking, sewing, and quilting has led me to receive the 1990 Teacher of the year award, the student engagement award, and a written article in the Odyssey Newspaper.