April 30, 2021
From site coordinator to teacher: A path to a career in education
Teacher Appreciation Week Spotlight
Every day at Reading Partners is completely unique, much like that in a classroom. Site coordinators and distance tutoring coordinators lead the operations of reading centers. They manage tasks and interact with tutors and students throughout the day, which can set them on a positive trajectory in life.
In addition to maintaining the organization of daily tasks, coordinators also develop strong relationships with school administrators and teachers on campuses. All of these things combined not only equip individuals with the skills they need to be successful, but also with the transferable skills that prepare them for a career in education.
This Teacher Appreciation Week, we’d like to spotlight three former site coordinators who are now classroom teachers. Join us in celebrating and appreciating not only their accomplishments and hard work, but also their unwavering commitment to their students.
Words from Elizabeth Mason
My time at Reading Partners was magical. I learned so much about teaching and education, and I carry what I learned in my three years as a site coordinator into what I do now.
Teaching is first about the relationship you build with your students, and that looks different with each student, teacher, and volunteer. I learned how to hone this skill at Reading Partners when I worked with many different students, teachers, and volunteers. Now I use it to build relationships within the small community where I live in Guatemala.
I also learned how to teach kids the importance of reading and how it can open so many doors. The community I work in now doesn’t have a library, and most of the schools have very few books. Most of the people in this community have rarely traveled outside of its parameters. So, with every trip I take into the village I bring and read a new book with the kids. I reinforce the book with an art or science activity afterwards so they can see how books relate to their world and lives. I use reading to expose them to new ideas and information about the world outside of their community.
Another important thing I learned during my time at Reading Partners, is that sometimes the best method of teaching is different from your typical classroom setup. I was able to see a large variety of classroom setups, both in the students’ regular rooms, and in different reading centers. This is critical to what I do now. Now I teach about 40 (and counting) students in the dirt yard of a lady with stray dogs and wandering chickens. I sit my computer on a plastic chair and read stories and share videos and show them what we are learning about that day. The ability to teach in whatever environment I have, is a blessing I learned at Reading Partners. I wouldn’t trade my time at Reading Partners for anything.
Words from Amber Jeffries
My time at Reading Partners was a rewarding experience where I developed a love of literacy and early childhood education. I gained specific knowledge about the science of reading, like phonological and phonemic awareness, as well as soft skills, like the ability to manage many projects simultaneously and work collaboratively with stakeholders. These experiences led me to apply and be accepted as a Teach for America Corps member. Through their rigorous program, I became alternatively certified to teach and entered the classroom in 2017!
Amber was awarded the Golden Apple Teacher Award and named Hoover Elementary’s Teacher of the Year.
Words from Sarah Seekins
As a site coordinator, I worked in an elementary school and began to understand the lack of equitable access to high-quality education in Tulsa, especially in North Tulsa. During this time, I developed a passion for working with students to close gaps and build a love of learning. A few years later I joined the KIPP Tulsa team as a member of the founding team at KIPP Tulsa University Prep. It’s been an amazing experience growing as an educator and growing a new high school in my hometown. Last year, when we were in person, I sponsored a club of high school students that volunteered as Reading Partners and this year I have some of my very own Reading Partners in my ninth grade classroom. I’m so glad I was able to do my AmeriCorps service with Reading Partners!
Teachers inspire us, push us to do better, and teach us so much more than just what’s in the curriculum. We have so much to be thankful for, but this week, teachers take the cake. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Thank you to all of the teachers who support the development of students in Tulsa and beyond.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in education or a year of service, check out our open positions for the upcoming 2021-22 school year.