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Stephanie Searle (’09)

Stephanie loves working with students and watching them grow

Stephanie Searle (BS ’09) had always been interested in teaching. Classes she took as a secondary student initially led her to begin a business degree. But after taking accounting in college, Searle knew that business wasn’t her calling. Pursuing her interest in education prepared Searle to do what she loves—working with students and watching them learn and grow.

Student teaching was an important part of Searle’s education at the McKay School. “It was great to be out in the field and to be given the opportunity to learn by doing,” Searle says. Now as a full-time teacher, she often draws on the strategies she learned during her field experiences. She says that new teachers should prioritize, figure out what their resources are, and be confident in their ability to teach. “When you first start teaching, it is easy to compare yourself to more experienced teachers. Remember that you were hired because you are the best person for the job. You’ve been trained and will be able to teach your students,” she says.

One of Searle’s most rewarding experiences as a sixth grade teacher was an opportunity she recently had to teach a student who, upon the start of the school year, had only been in the United States for a few weeks. Although he faced a language barrier, Searle was determined to help the student learn the year’s curriculum and progress in his fluency in English. Searle was inspired by his positive attitude, dedication, and steady improvement. A highlight came when, after presenting the “word of the day” to the rest of the class in English, the student later told the yearbook that it was his favorite memory of the year. In an effort to better meet the needs of her students, Searle is currently working on her ESL endorsement. She also plans to pursue a master’s degree in the future.

When she’s not in the classroom, Searle and her husband, Cameron, can be found spending time with family and playing with their new puppy. Although Searle cites balancing work and family as one of the challenges of a teaching career, she loves what she does. “I have a job that can make a difference in the world.”

June 18, 2012