As Houston grows, more and more teaching and education jobs will be opening to those with the right skill sets. Houston ISD is even recruiting from as far away as North Carolina to fill the numerous teacher openings it has, trying to lure the best and brightest with higher pay and great standards of living.
Tammie Pogue, who teaches freshman English at St. John XXIII College Preparatory, discusses how she found her way to teaching through a theatre background.
How did you decide to become a teacher?
“My initial college preparation did not include any education classes. I didn’t get the notion to teach until I taught some high school classes as part of my graduate school internship. I substituted for a year in a public school district while I was working part-time in a professional theatre company.”
Have you participated in any form of continuing education?
“Continuing education has always been a huge part of my growth as a teacher. After my second year of teaching, I was chosen as a Fellow in the Klingenstein Summer Institute at Columbia University. A few years later, I attended a summer program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Those are the types of programs that really spur a person to keep learning!”
Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?
“When I give advice to those who are just starting out, I tell them to never stop looking for ways to learn and improve, and get rid of any idea that you have to know it all or that you can’t make a mistake. I remember so well my first or second year of teaching, when a student raised his hand and, in a very respectful manner, pointed out that he believed I had misspelled a word on the board. The word was ‘tomorrow,’ which I had spelled ‘tommorrow.’ Today I would say something like, ‘Oh, my gosh, thanks for pointing that out! Don’t tell anyone that I can’t spell–they’ll take away my English degree!’ But back then I just hemmed and hawed and make some ridiculous statement like, ‘Well, it can be spelled different ways.’ That kid is now a renowned psychiatrist at Cedars-Sinai. I probably gave him his start when he wondered why that poor woman couldn’t admit a mistake!”
Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.