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AmeriCorps

Americorps Great Stories: Sharday Carter

Teacher Spotlight / March 16, 2024
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This blog has been adapted from a writing assignment by Sharday Carter, cohort 8 teacher resident at The Educator Academy. A staff formatted this to fit a blog, making edits solely for legibility and readability purposes.

We are excited to share another resident’s experience with you on our blog! As an AmeriCorps member with The EA, Sharday is pursuing her teaching certification through our residency program. Sharday shares with us her experience in deciding to become a teacher and why she is staying in education. 

 

How I came to education

My mother is why I got into the education field. During my 18 years of living with her, I watched as she volunteered at my and my siblings’ schools. She served in a variety of roles either tutoring, reading to classrooms, and eating lunch with students. She was heavily involved in their lives. After school, she was also involved with students. She would sit down and have talks with the children in our neighborhoods and teach them about things; kids would come to my parent’s house often just to sit and talk with my mom. 

When I was younger, I was annoyed by the constant strangers taking up my bonding time with my mom. However, as I got older I started to notice the effect she had on kids. They were learning lessons from her and she was making an impact on them. Even years later, random run-ins would carry on as they would eagerly catch my mom up with their life updates.

I was inspired by how my mother changed children’s lives, and how much love she showed them. Growing up with this example, I couldn’t help but fall in love with how she served her community; I wanted to do the same thing when I got older.

 

Why I choose The Educator Academy

I moved to Kansas City, Missouri back in March of 2022 with no idea or plan. It had been two years since I graduated with my undergraduate degree and I felt stuck. My first attempt at becoming a teacher didn’t succeed. I got too nervous about The Praxis and ended up switching concentrations. Getting another opportunity to become a teacher wasn’t on my horizon. 

I wasn’t aware of alternative teaching programs until one of my coworkers at work talked with me. She told me she was thinking about going back to school to become certified. That is when I started to research different teaching certification programs. I came across a few programs including The Educator Academy’s residency program. I was intrigued by how this program specifically focused on getting hands-on experience in the classrooms from day one instead. This appealed to me over the traditional model of college credit coursework coupled with being in schools once or twice a week. I wanted a hands-on experience. I was desperate to get classroom experience and begin pouring back into my community. 

In addition to the model, it was a blessing that The Educator Academy’s residency program provides residents with living stipends; Finances had originally been a barrier for me. I didn’t have the financial resources to support myself while trying to get certified on my own. The living stipend AmeriCorps has provided has lifted so much stress off me during my first year in the program. 

 

Why I’m staying in Education

The most rewarding experience I’ve had so far in education is watching the students engage in the lessons that I’ve taught while in the program.  I was so nervous about becoming a middle school ELA teacher, because I’ve only worked with elementary students. However, my middle schoolers have made the experience so rewarding for me. They give me hugs and write me letters. They respect me. My experience makes me feel like this is the position I need to be in. They know we can have fun, but get serious when the time comes, and that’s the beauty of having a good relationship with your students. 

 

My Message to Future Educators

The main message I would share is this: there is a lot to teach that you wouldn’t know about just looking from the outside in. Teachers truly are superheroes. You would be amazed by the skills teachers use daily. 

Someone should consider teaching with The EA because they open the doors to being the best role model for your future students; EA models some of the best classroom management strategies while still being authentic. They give you perspective on how to build a community in your classroom, strategies to get your students involved in the lessons, and tools for you to decompress after the school day. The best part of all this is that they don’t leave you hanging. The program continues coaching you for the next 3 years to make sure you are confident in the teaching field. This program is known for its community and it’s shown throughout my experience. 

The most important thing to understand before becoming a resident teacher and AmeriCorps member is that you need to be in the right headspace to succeed in the program. The content is heavy and it’s fast-paced; it doesn’t take a lot to fall behind. I don’t share this to deter you but to inform you. You have to juggle a lot between coursework, your school site, and your personal life. Being a resident teacher can become draining. There will be times when you want to give up, but don’t do it. The greatest feeling is seeing yourself graduate from the residency year and knowing that you are capable of something that you didn’t think you could accomplish.

 

What I wish others knew about education 

I really wish others knew about the time and dedication that goes into the education field. There is so much that the community doesn’t see behind closed doors. They don’t see the late evenings planning lessons for the classroom. They don’t see the breakdowns from having so much passion to see your students succeed when you know how far behind they are. Others don’t see the constant fighting for money to supply classrooms. 

People don’t always see the struggle in the education field, but they also never get to see the reward that comes from it either. They don’t get to see the pictures created or letters written. They don’t get to see the smiles or hear the exciting conversations from the students. Others don’t get to see how they’ve touched the younger generations to shape a better future.

 

Become a teacher 

You too can become a teacher and make an impact in your community. Through The Educator Academy’s residency program, individuals have the opportunity to earn their teaching certification while serving. 

Learn more about AmeriCorps and our Residency Program!