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First Year Teacher Reflections — How Did Baylor SOE Grads Do? [07/03/2017]


The Baylor School of Education program is teacher education is designed to prepare graduates for the classroom through rigorous coursework as well as intense faculty-guided field experiences. But can anything really prepare them for their first year of teaching? How did our graduates really do? Read the reflections of five graduates after their first year in the classroom.

Bonus: Read a few heart-warming notes written to these teachers by their students!

Esther Navarrete Santos, BSEd ’16
Hillcrest Professional Development School, Waco ISD

“Thinking about my first year of teaching will always bring tears to my eyes. It was the most trying year of my life, professionally and personally. However, in the midst of stress, chaos, and exhaustion, I knew I was right to believe teaching is my calling.”



Madeline Stookey, BSEd ’16
Second grade
Bebensee Elementary, Arlington ISD

“While you should find experienced teachers you can learn from, you should also trust what you know. It’s okay to try your own thing! You’ve probably been exposed to new methods and ideas while at Baylor that teachers around you don’t have experience with. Learn to trust your instinct. You know your stuff, too! You might not have experience, but Baylor trained you well!”



Josh Dietert, BSEd ’16
AP Calculus, Pre-AP Algebra II
Midway High School, Midway ISD, Waco

“Teaching seniors who are only five years younger than me presented an interesting dynamic in my classroom at times. However, it also allowed me foster a different relationship than most of my students found, as a relief from that of the typical ‘parental’ figure in their teacher. The older ‘brother’ approach led my students to receive life advice much easier than I originally anticipated. It opened the door to mentor a couple of students through the college application, selection, and scholarship process.”



Shannon King BSEd ’15, MSEd ’16
Third Grade
Anderson Elementary, Frisco ISD

“I had an incredible year at Anderson, but I will not lie to you — teaching is hard work. There will be days where you don’t think you can go back. There are going to be students that will make you want to pull out your eyebrow hair and eat an entire gallon of Blue Bell. But I am telling you it is so worth it. It is the most incredible and worthy career you could pursue, and YOU ARE READY!”



Karly Evans, BSEd ’16
First grade
Glenhope Elementary, Grapevine-Colleyville ISD

“I had my fair share of moments that were extremely challenging and times when I questioned if I was doing anything right. However, there were many moments that brought me back to why I became a teacher — when a student gained confidence, made a new friend, loved an activity we did, or simply wanted to read because they love to. These were encouraging moments that I’ll cherish forever.”


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Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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