“Heroes represent the best of ourselves, respecting that we are human beings. A hero can be anyone from Gandhi to your classroom teacher, anyone who can show courage when faced with a problem. A hero is someone who is willing to help others in his or her best capacity” – Ricky Martin
For a good amount of hours out of the day, kids are sent to school and parents are trusting that the teachers who are in charge of their students are the best of the best at what they teach. Teachers take on more then we really know because it is more to it then just showing up to school everyday. It requires a lot of dedication, planning, and work after hours. I know quite a few people who are teachers but every now and then I will come across a teacher like Timara Davis. A Special Education teacher whose passion and love for teaching and educating shines so bright the minute you ask them anything about their job, the kids they teach, and the goals they want to accomplish to allow them to advance in their profession. I believe the their are a lot of heroes in the world who are educators and sometimes what they do and go through to make them a good educator can go unnoticed. Educators are keeping their promises everyday by doing what they have to do, to be the best teacher they can be to their students. Being able to handle being a teacher, especially a Special Education teacher, is a gift because it requires such a high level of patience. Timara was willing to answer a few questions for me, here is her story:
Who is Timara Davis?
My name is Timara Davis, originally from Columbus, Ohio residing in Greensboro, NC. I will be relocating to Orlando Florida this summer! I am a recent grad from Western Carolina University. I am also a third year special education teacher at a local charter school in Greensboro, NC.
What school did you attend for undergrad and what did you study ?
I attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. I declared my dual major program on day one in Elementary and Special Education.
What school did you attend for graduate school and what did you study ? Did you work and attend graduate school?
I attended Western Carolina University studying Special Education with a focus on Mild to Moderate Disabilities. I worked as a full time teacher while attending school as a distance learning student.
Will you be obtaining your PhD? If so why, what school, and what will you be studying ?
I have been admitted to the University of Central Florida to obtain my PhD in Exceptional Education. I have not narrowed down my research area but will be using my first year to discover what my focus will be. There is so much to choose from!
How were you able to balance working and going to school ?
Working full time while completing a master’s program requires a great deal of discipline, organization, determination and the willingness to excel. Everyday I had to ensure that I took the time for personal development which in this case was continuing my education. Did I lose sleep? Yes! Did I feel like I wanted to quit? Yes. Did I quit? No! Did I require emotional support from other? OH YEAH! There were times I wanted to just take the week off from school but I had to remember what my ultimate goal was and I needed to excel within this program in order to reach another milestone along my journey to my ultimate goal.
When did you decide that you wanted to work with kids ?
I decided I wanted to work with children at a very young age. When I was in middle school, I was very involved with the pre-school age children. At church, I found myself always wanting to teach them something. I actually put together organized activities together for children and continued this through high school. I imagined that I would be doing dance therapy for children with disabilities but things change. All in all, I knew I wanted to specifically work with students with disabilities.
What is a typical day for you at your job?
Everyday is EXTREMELY different for me, but I always know how my day will go once I am greeted or I greet the children. I am very good at reading body language of my students. Some days can go really well and others might be completely terrible. I often realize that if one of my students have a “bad” day then for somehow, someway they ALL have a “bad” day.
What keeps you motivated ?
The students and their families keep me motivated. I am not looking for recognition of what I do with my students BUT it is nice to know that I am appreciated and that the parents are also seeing positive changes in their children. Some days I can come into work completely down but once the school day begins and it is time to educate my students then all of those feelings of doubt are nonexistent.
What is one thing you have accomplished with these kids that you are proud of?
One thing I am most proud of is that I am getting others to realize that they are capable of doing much more than others think. My students confidence increases tremendously after a few months because they have someone who constantly celebrates what they CAN do versus what they can not do.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?
In the next five years, I see myself as Timara Davis, Ph.D. I also see myself working as an advocate for students with disabilities, while conducting trainers in local education agencies on the teacher and learning of students with disabilities. There is also a possibility of me exploring the option to teach at the University level with aspirations of becoming a published writer.
What advice can you provide for someone who may be on the same or somewhat similar path as yourself?
Best advice I could give is to stay strong, surround yourself with positive vibes, always remember the end goal, and stay grounded. Always prepare yourself for any challenge that may come your way because they will come. At each step, things will get much more difficulty but try your best to stay motivated by remember what motivates you! Also, do not be afraid to rely on others when you are feeling overwhelmed. Having the support of others emotionally and spiritually will certainly allow you to feel more empowered!
In what ways have you been able to speak to others about your accomplishments?
I always share my knowledge with those who are longing to be in the very position I am in today. I still have connections with professors who I also consider mentors in the School of Education at A&T. These professors have been blessings to me in many ways. I remember all of the lessons they taught me as an undergraduate student that I am able to pass along. These very professors have asked me back to the University to speak with pre-service teachers about my experience.
What are 2-3 things you have learned working with young children ?
I have so many things about myself since working with children. I’ve learned that you really must watch what you do and say. Although I do teach my children appropriate behaviors, if I were to do something deemed inappropriate then may children may try to do the same. THEY ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. My students even begin speaking like me, picking up on my many quotes or phrases.
I also learned that it is okay to relax and laugh a little. Sometimes we as adults just take things too seriously. Working with my students has allowed me to laugh almost to tears some days. We laugh together and it makes me happy to see them happy!
What are some things that you have achieved that make you proud ?
I am glad to have nearly built a department that was deemed unorganized and/or unimportant. In my short three years, I have been able to help others understand the importance of how we educate our students with disabilities. I feel as though the people around me have certainly learned a great deal of things about the students they teach daily who live with exceptionalities.
How would you define success ?
I would describe success as always working to obtain your goals whether the goals are short term or long term. Any accomplishment should be recognized because it was done with a purpose!
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