Over the past month, I’ve had an opportunity to share a story about one of my former first grade students, Thomas, who was in my first grade class during my third year of teaching. Thomas was one of those students who made me want to quit my job and become a Wal-Mart greeter. Teacher Cadets learned how Thomas changed my life that year. Thanks to Thomas, I didn’t become a Wal-Mart greeter. I remained in that first grade classroom for seven more years, getting to know my learners as individuals and impacting many more lives.
I have also had the pleasure of sharing college financial information with Teacher Cadets, instructors, guidance counselors, and principals throughout the Upstate and Savannah River Region. I’ve met other educators whose lives were changed as a result of the Teacher Cadet class. Ms. Alison Brown, the guidance counselor at Williston-Elko High School would not even think about becoming a teacher in 1991 at Barnwell High School. Ms. Brown wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a pharmacist. However, after becoming a Teacher Cadet in her junior year, Ms. Brown decided that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others by becoming an educator. Now, Ms. Brown makes a difference in the lives of students every day by helping them make important decisions about their futures.
Teacher Cadet instructors and their Cadets are also busy making plans to attend their upcoming College Days throughout South Carolina. This is a very exciting day for students as they begin thinking about this next journey of their lives. College Day gives Teacher Cadets an opportunity to tour their partnering college’s campus, participate in engaging activities, and network with other Cadets.
My journey as a Program Facilitator allows me the unique opportunity to connect with many educators in a variety of unique situations. I must say that my favorite part of my job is staring into the eyes of young people who have their whole lives ahead of them. From Greenville to Allendale, I’m inspired by our future. Many of our Cadets know without a shadow of a doubt that they want to become teachers. Some of them are still undecided about their future. Many of those undecided will choose teaching as a career as a result of the Teacher Cadet class. I am so thankful that some of my classmates encouraged me to become a Teacher Cadet. It changed my life forever.