It's back to school time, so it's only fitting that we spotlight two UT Dallas alumni who have returned to the classroom this month as teachers.
Meaghan Dougherty (BS '06) is a first-year 8th grade math teacher at Haggard Middle School in Plano, Texas. She completed her master's degree in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University in May and plans to continue teaching and eventually receive her science certification.
How did your experience at UT Dallas influence where you are today? I didn’t know much about teacher certification until I heard some of my math classmates discussing it. The Teacher Development Center was so helpful in getting me started and in navigating deadlines and paperwork. The staff was always there to answer my questions and ensured that I graduated on time with both my math degree and my teacher certification.
What is your favorite UT Dallas memory? I loved the Mest/Tribe Called Quest/Cowboy Mouth concert that SUAAB organized behind the library in 2003. It was so fun to hang out on the lawn with my classmates and my friends from other schools.
What advice would you like to give to new teachers or people who are contemplating becoming a teacher? My best advice to people considering becoming teachers is to make the most of your student teaching experience. Go above and beyond what is required. Go to every meeting with your mentor teacher and do anything you can to get the real teaching experience. It’s amazing how much you can learn in just a few months!
Tim Hise (BA '05) just started his new position as
Smaller Learning Communities Coordinator and Academic Coordinator at
Moises E. Molina High School in Dallas this month. Prior to becoming a coordinator, Tim taught in Dallas. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in educational administration.
How did your experience at UT Dallas influence where you are today? The Teacher Development Program at UTD allowed me opportunities to get involved early with Dallas ISD. I gained great insight into what it's like to be a teacher in today's world before actually having a classroom of my own. Also, by being a McDermott Scholar and Archer Fellow, I was afforded the opportunity to see education from the federal perspective, working at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., and from a global perspective during my semester abroad.
Of which of your accomplishments are you most proud? In May I was named Teacher of the Year at W.E. Greiner Middle School and received the Middle School Rotary Club "Service Above Self" Teacher of the Year Award for all of Dallas ISD. While these honors brought much recognition from my peers and my family, I'm proudest of the fact that I've taught my students something about math, something about growing up, and something about life. Hearing them say "thank you" or just seeing the appreciation in their eyes make all the hours I put in worthwhile.
What is your favorite memory of UT Dallas? Occasionally a student notices the picture of me covered in mud that runs across my screensaver every now and then. They ask what happened. I launch into the great discussion of all that makes OOZEBALL fun. College, to my students, then sounds like something they'd definitely like to be a part of.
What advice would you like to give to new teachers or people who are contemplating becoming a teacher? Don't expect an immediate reward. You ARE making a difference. You just won't know it for awhile. Stay patient and determined, and make decisions based on what's best for each child. You will be successful if you keep this in mind. Lastly, to future teachers, Dallas ISD is on the cutting edge of education in the United States. Our students are the best in the state and the country and we'd love for you to have the opportunity to experience the joy of being one of their teachers!
What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years? I hope to use my experiences in the classroom and in the Oak Cliff community to make a greater impact on education in our city, state and nation. Whether it be by continuing my work in the schools as a teacher or principal, or seeking elected office, I want to make a difference. My students can recite my wish for them by memory: "Never settle for good enough when you can be the BEST." I plan to practice what I preach.