Q&A with Teach for America Teacher Taylor LeMay
Name: Taylor LeMay
Position, subject you teach: 5th Grade Social Studies/Science
School: Lowery Elementary
Previous Work or Leadership Experience: Theta Xi Fraternity Pledge Educator, Leadership LSU
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Education:BA in Advertising from LSU
Family: mom, dad and 2 younger brothers
Interests and hobbies: reading, news & politics, music and sports (especially LSU football)
In several sentences, explain how and why you decided to choose education: When I came to LSU, it was interesting to me that the majority of people I met from Louisiana went to private schools. In Houston, almost everyone went to public schools. The more I found about the public education system in Louisiana and the nation as whole, the more I knew that something had to change. As I got more involved with Teach For America, I found myself getting very passionate about education, so I decided to apply.
Who is a teacher or professor who inspired you and how?My journalism teacher in high school. He gave us a lot of freedom in the classroom - seeing that he had confidence in our judgement and the decisions we made led us to do some great, unconventional things with our yearbook. He taught me a lot about how to work independently and to trust my instincts.
What do you feel are the greatest challenges in education today? How we assess students and teachers. As it is, a successful school means that students are scoring high on standardized tests. However, a lot of kids have trouble expressing their knowledge through a test. So much rides on test scores alone, when they don't accurately reflect every student's learning or the quality of instruction they've received.
What are your goals for your first year of teaching? I want my students to leave my classroom having achieved a higher score on the iLEAP than they had the year before. I also want them to be passionate about learning and excited to learn even more about science and social studies as they enter 6th grade.
How will you engage students in the classroom? I try to incorporate technology as often as I can. The parish gives us a lot of great supplies - video cameras, laptops, document projectors, and Promethean boards. So far we've watched videos, looked at Donaldsonville on google maps, made online thought maps and done some independent research. I constantly look for new ways to use all of these tools to get students excited about what we're learning that day.
Anything else you would like to add about teaching or just your experience of choosing Teach For America? It's definitely one of the toughest jobs out there - I have a lot of respect for the teachers and administrators at my school for the work they've done!