MTC '18 Spotlight: Aubrey Hanson

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NAME: AUBREY HANSON

COLLEGE: THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI

PLACEMENT: GREENWOOD HIGH SCHOOL

1. What made you want to join the Mississippi Teacher Corps?

This seems to be a question I ask myself everyday. Having finished undergrad just seven months ago, I am still surprised when I walk into a classroom that I am supposed to be the adult in charge. Instinct still tells me to take a seat at a desk and have paper and pencil ready. Perhaps that was part of my intrigue in MTC. It seemed to be the perfect opportunity to both further my education and get a footing in the professional world; graduate student on the weekend, full-time high school teacher by Monday. I knew a career in education was in my future when I started working in Student Support Services at USM. There, I tutored scholars that were first generation college students, had learning disabilities, or came from low-income homes. Though they often struggled with the material, they had the purest eagerness to learn. They had jumped hurdle after hurdle to attend university, and their determination to succeed was inspiring. Spending two years with students like this made it easy to choose my career path. It’s a question I ask myself everyday, “Why did I join MTC?” The answer is simple. I love watching kids succeed, especially those that are doubted the most.

2. What is it like to live in Greenwood?

Being from neighboring Louisiana and finishing my undergrad in Hattiesburg, I thought I knew Mississippi. After living in Greenwood for just five months, however, proved that there is much more to this state. No matter where you travel in the world, you encounter interesting people and unique cultures. After spending a month in Europe two years ago, I didn’t think I could experience what I did there again stateside. The Mississippi Delta surprised me, though. From a rich, tumultuous past has emerged a wonderfully complex place. Tradition runs deeper than the Yazoo River that cuts through land. From historic sites to holiday events happening downtown, Greenwood has more to offer than I ever thought a Mississippi town could. As a proud Louisianian, I never thought New Orleans’ creole cuisine had any competition. Drake’s mouth-watering BBQ, Larry’s fried catfish, and Crystal Grill’s “Best Pie Ever” have made me reconsider. I knew this experience would be difficult, and there is not a day that goes by that does not present a new challenge. But living in Greenwood has exposed me to some of the best people, food, and culture that I have ever experienced.

3. How has your new school made you feel welcome?

Greenwood, Mississippi has redefined Southern hospitality. The support I receive from my family, friends, and MTC makes this job easier. The support I receive from my students, colleagues, and administration at Greenwood High School makes the job enjoyable. One of my favorite events of this first semester was the Catfish Social, where new teachers got to mingle with different administrators and community leaders. The evening was the warmest welcome into the school district I could possibly imagine, and it has continually gotten stronger since. Help is anticipated and readily available. Frustration is empathized with, not ignored. I am accepted and treated as family. GHS truly has become my home away from home.

4. Do you feel like you’ve gotten better as a teacher this semester?

Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have some of the best teachers and professors who have inspired me and who I try to emulate. I know I will not be anywhere near their league until I have a few more years under my belt. For now, I’m simply playing tee-ball. Swinging and missing has become a hobby to me in this profession. My coaches and teammates, MTC and my cohort, are my best supporters. They make this alternate route to teaching fun and manageable. From summer training to weekend classes, I learned strategies, methods, and activities that I experimented with using trial and error. Each new experiment presents an opportunity to learn and grow. Overall, the simple answer to the question is yes, I have become a much better teacher over the course of this semester. Through the many failures I have reaped significant successes. I have clear goals set, the enthusiasm to keep my students engaged, and the positivity to continue even after I have failed. While I may not be the smartest or most effective teacher these kids have had, I know how much I care for and love them. Sometimes, that is all they need.

Hunter Taylor