An educator has one of the most important roles in society. Educators pave the way for the youth and young adults in a community; this job takes more than just a certification and after interviewing Katie Grant it is evident that educators who devote themselves to the field will become the most qualified and prepared to take on the laborious job. Katie Grant is an English teacher at Manchester high school where she teaches both sophomores and seniors. Katie is a graduate of Uconn’s school of education IB/M program. NEAG school of education is a very selective program where only devoted students with experience in the field will be accepted.
Katie’s background is very impressive; she has a history of being very involved in the Future Educators club in her five years at Uconn. In this club she was the political director her junior year and the state chair for Connecticut Education Association’s Aspiring Educators program her senior and masters year. Both roles that she devoted herself to were ones that acquired a leader and someone who could be organized and approachable to their peers. Her involvement in Future Educators is just the beginning of her list of accomplishments. Grant also took on honor classes, as she was accepted into the honors program at Uconn. The honors program is very selective and currently only “2,000 students out of the 32,183 students who attend Uconn are in the honors program” according to honors.uconn.edu. With Grant’s devotion to her studies she was accepted into the 2018 leadership legacy program. This program facilitates year-long learning experiences for student leaders at UConn to prepare them for their leadership journeys after they graduate.
Grant’s impressive experience in just leadership itself is enough to understand her amazing ability to connect with her students. However, as an English teacher she has proven her ability to be an expert in her subject through her internships and practice in the writing center at Uconn. Katie was an intern for the Connecticut Writing Project which is a writing based internship. This internship highlights the impressive writing skills of Uconn students through their newsletters posted on the CWP website. Grant also worked for the writing center at Uconn where students go for help with their academic papers. She has stayed connected to writing and feels that it is important to do so as an educator, she says practicing writing “helps you stay connected to the craft… writing is hard”. Grant is aware of how troubling writing can be through her experience in honor level English classes and these first hand experiences allow her to connect and understand her students on a better level by giving herself the assignment to complete before giving it to her students. This way of teaching is an example of a devoted teacher. Grant surrounds her teaching style through the eyes of the students, asking herself “can this question be answered with the information given?” answering her own essay questions is just an example of how she stays connected with writing.
Every educator is bound to have experiences from their past that shaped them into being the teacher they are today. Grant had impactful experiences while student teaching. She got to connect with the kids and it gave her a sense of confirmation of why she is pursuing this career path. Grant also claimed to have “wonderful teachers who got to know my interests”, in fact, one of her teachers from high school introduced her to a book by the title “Death and Life of The American School System”. This book was recommended to Grant because she loves policy. She took great interest in systems and the way a program operates. That very book is what inspired her to become a teacher, she wanted to make a difference in the school system. Grant says she wants her students to leave her classroom “being confident and comfortable with who they are” she feels is important to have an affirming space where students can be themselves and “learn not only what they need but also what they want”. Grant’s dedication to making that impact on her students is inspiring and an outlook on teaching that is hard to find. Teaching is a very hard occupation where students come to you with hardships and difficult conversations. Instead of letting the exhaustion of the tough days at work drain her, Grant takes care of herself in ways that are important for a new teacher. She says “Beyond investing in learning and being comfortable in that space it’s also creating self care routines… even in college start to practice self care”. Putting yourself first after a day of putting student needs before your own is important. Grant keeps the difficulty her job maintained through allowing herself to relax and do the things she enjoys.
Grant has already proven to have a very successful two first years in teaching high school English. Although this is just the beginning, Grant hopes someday she will go back to school and “be more involved in policy work”. Her understanding for her future is clear to her, she feels she needs to stay in the classroom and gain more knowledge on the profession; knowing the profession fully is important to understanding the policy of it. Grant is an inspiration to future educators and she is already making a tremendous impact on the profession and her students.