Iten Bayoumy is a Cohort Six member of the The Educator Academy. She is currently at Borderstar Montessori school in the Kansas City Public School District. This blog is adapted from a video interview conducted in February 2022. Some verbiage has been adapted to make sense in a written context.
Interviewer: Can you tell us a little bit about how you found The Educator Academy? What got you into education?
I’m from Egypt and moved here to the U.S. with my ex. When we moved to the United States we ended up in Chicago because he was in school. There was a Montessori school next to where we lived that’s where my son went. So from there, I got to know Montessori. I like to work with the kids and so I volunteered at the Montessori school that he was attending. I continued to volunteer until I met a friend from Nigeria. She’s the one who encouraged me to get into teaching.
Then I moved here to Kansas city. All I had known about Montessori was from a private school setting. I had never heard about a public school being Montessori. Then one day I noticed that there’s a public Montessori school. I came to the school and Ms. White, the principal at the time, did a tour with me and I loved it. I really like it here and thought it would be a good place to build my career – there’s a difference between private and public school in pay, and being a public school was much more stable and higher pay than a private school teacher. I felt like I can grow and build a career and make a difference in my career.
So after I moved here I started at Border Star Montessori. However, I didn’t know that I had to have a teaching certificate. I already had my Montessori certification, but because this is also a public school I learned I needed my Missouri teaching certificate. So I was searching for options. The principal here at the time was the one who introduced me to The Educator Academy. He told me about the program – you can get a master degree with The Educator Academy vs. with other options I would need to go back to get a four year degree. There was no way for me to go back to school for 4 years to get an early childhood certificate. So, The Educator Academy’s path caught my eye. From there, I started to talk to you guys, I did my interview, and now I’m on my way to get my license and be able to work in public schools. It was a big challenge, but I feel it has pushed me forward in my career.
Interviewer: What does self care looks like for you? How do you balance all that goes into being a Resident?
For me it was kind of confusing in the beginning, but I think I have found my rhythm now. I’m a single mom and right now I work part time in addition to the Residency because I have a child in college. I’ve had to also focus on and cultivate my social life. I have to manage my time – I need to make time for my studies, for my part-time work and put time towards fun and friends. I have to take a day off because I need that time for myself to be social, and to go out and see my sons. For me, I decided to take Saturday off. It doesn’t matter what it is – this is my day off and the rest of the week goes between school and other part-time work and friends.
So it was a big adjustment in the beginning, but I’ve found balance. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself. If you don’t, you can’t focus. When you take care of yourself, you can give more. I need to take care of myself, because if I come to the classroom tired or depleted, I won’t be ready to show up for the students.
Interviewer: Where have you seen the most growth in yourself through this year?
It’s great to work with another teacher and step back. I have been working in Montessori for 10 years but I didn’t have the chance to observe that much. So now in the Residency I get to step back and observe my Mentor Teacher. I’ve learned a lot. It’s a great experience to observe how your mentor handles experiences. We both have different experiences and present content in a different way. So it’s really to see that and it’s good for my own growth. Observing other teachers helps a lot.
Interviewer: Is there anything else specific about The Educator Academy that has helped that you would want people to know about?
The Educator Academy has given me the opportunity to observe, and the skills to listen closer to kids. I try to take all that we are learning in the The Educator Academy classes and take it into the classroom – I try to come here and practice it all. This is all part of The Educator Academy what makes The Educator Academy so special – stepping back, observing, and then practicing. The Educator Academy is presenting a variety of options and tools in coursework for me to try in the classroom. We try this and work on that, watch this assessment. It all supports you being successful in the classroom.