Read Time: 5 minutes
Marcy Caldwell never imagined that she would be a teacher. She first worked as a dental assistant, a field that, combined with her spouse’s income, supported her family financially. But after she unexpectedly became a single mother to her six children, Caldwell knew that she needed to find a career that brought in enough income for her family.
To make her career change happen, Caldwell earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, then began teaching. She soon decided to aim for administrative work and enrolled in BYU McKay School of Education’s Educational Leadership and Foundations (EdLF) department. Coming back to college as a nontraditional student terrified Caldwell, but her return to education was fueled by her determination to overcome the obstacles that were placed in her path. “Education was not my choice—it was Heavenly Father saying it’s what’s best for you and your family,” she said.
Now, Caldwell mentors public school teachers in their first four years in the classroom. While she does do some administrative work, her main role is to oversee interns and new faculty in her school. In short, she gives new teachers the support that they need to be successful: “I am here to help build the capacity of the teachers.”
Caldwell’s goal is to help as many students as she can. As a teacher, she could only affect the students in her classroom, but as an administrator, she can help hundreds of students each year. From her years in the classroom, she knows firsthand the difficulties inherent in the role of teacher. By building relationships with teachers, she said, “I help them know that they have what it takes to change lives.”
School during the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for students and teachers alike. Between remote and hybrid teaching and constantly changing policies, teachers are required to do a lot of extra preparation. On top of everything else, teachers and administrators are also concerned about how health protocols would impact their safety and their teaching environments.
To best support students, administrators try to provide everyone in the school with as secure an environment as possible. This includes emotional support for teachers, who are frontline workers highly impacted by community stress. Caldwell has often found that she needs to implement emotional support and wellness opportunities for her teachers. During this past pandemic-affected school year, she has created a setting where teachers know it is okay to feel anxious and receive help.
Caldwell never expected to work in schools. Her biggest fear in picking a career was not meeting the financial and emotional needs of her children while also building her own professional and personal capacities. Fortunately, Caldwell wasn’t alone in her journey. From fellow Church members to friends, she had help in starting a new career. Though she does not speak much at work about the role of God in her education career, school and God are not separate for Caldwell. Relying on her Heavenly Father’s plan, Caldwell now loves what she does and enjoys where she is professionally. Looking back, Caldwell can even feel grateful for “those big boulders that have been placed in my path and that I’ve climbed.”
Written by Emily Pearson
Contact: Cindy Glad