Instant Impact

News from Baylor School of Education

Teaching with a Twirl [12/04/2015]


UPDATE: Caroline Carothers was crowned as Miss Texas on July 2, 2016: Baylor Baton Twirler Wins Miss Texas. Watch her compete for Miss America on Sept. 11.

In keeping with her commitment to education, Carothers chose a platform of math education. She hopes to encourage students of all ages to adopt a growth mindset when learning math.

Baylor Football vs SMU - McLane Stadium Inaugural Opening Game – 08/31/2014

Sophomore education major Caroline Carothers on the field at McLane Stadium

Caroline Carothers is a Golden Girl in everything she does, not just when she’s twirling a baton on the field with Baylor’s Golden Wave band.

As a sophomore in the Baylor School of Education, Carothers is already in her second field experience, teaching small groups of advanced learners at Cesar Chavez Middle School.

Last summer, she competed in the Miss Texas pageant, finishing in the top ten and winning the talent competition. On campus, she became a part of Baylor Greek life as a new member of Chi Omega. She also started a service project, Twirling for the Cure, creating and selling rhinestone hair pieces to raise money ($3,200 so far) and awareness about breast cancer. (Read more in the Baylor Lariat).


Caroline Carothers in the classroom, teaching at Cesar Chavez Middle School

Despite the variety and abundance of activities in her everyday life, it’s the dream of becoming an educator — inspired by her grandmother’s career — that drives her onward.

“I had a grandmother in the education system for 40 years. She was a teacher and then a principal, so growing up with her influence was neat, because I got to see all sides of the story,” Carothers said.

Carothers hopes to teach math at the high school level, so that she can also coach twirling for the band. This semester, she’s enrolled in Introduction to Middle Grades Teaching, which includes the field experience in Waco ISD.

“My students are eager to learn, eager to be there, and that’s all anyone can ask for as a teacher. I’m really excited about that,” she said.

Carothers chose Baylor for her education because it offers her a sense of independence from her home in San Antonio, but class sizes in the SOE are small enough to form working relationships with professors and build another home in the classroom. Relationships with teachers, she says, are what got her through school.

“I want to teach character education in the classroom, too,” she said. “I want to develop each child — not just teach math.” The SOE team of students that visits the middle school twice a week is putting this well-rounded perspective on education into action by building a system of integrated curriculum for their sixth-grade gifted and talented students. The group of teachers-to-be includes a math major (Carothers) and others studying English, Spanish and social studies. “Whatever we’re teaching, we all work to find an underlying theme and integrate our strongest subjects to teach it better,” she said.

When she isn’t in a classroom as either student or instructor, Carothers is often practicing for game days, where she twirls on the field as one of the Golden Wave Band’s Golden Girls. She says twirling and teaching fit together surprisingly well.

“Consistency is the most important thing,” she explains. “It’s better to have a baton in your hand 30 minutes a day than one day a week for three hours straight.” The same is true for learning math, she says. “I want to encourage students to do a little bit of homework every night, organized in a way that’s fun for them and not busy work.”

Carothers has found success through her own consistency. She has been twirling for 12 years and coaching twirling for two. She said that modeling that commitment for her middle school students is important, especially when students don’t have a model at home.

“I’ve realized how much home life can impact your education and how lack of support makes it so much more difficult for a student,” she said. “It’s important to let the student know how far education can take them and how important it really is in shaping their future. I really have to be a role model. Having a balance between understanding and still being professional, not babying them, is a hard line to find sometimes. That balance is important.”

—By Kayleigh Lovvorn

For more news from Baylor School of Education, visit the Instant Impact home page.

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