UCPS alumnus returns to class to teach

UNION COUNTY, NC – Schools across the state of North Carolina are always on the lookout for new teachers.

The state of North Carolina had a teacher attrition rate of about 7.5% at the end of the 2020 school year, according to a North Carolina Department of Public Education.

“In general, teachers in North Carolina stay in the classroom,” the report said. The report details the attrition rate of 7.5%, which equates to 7,111 teachers who left classrooms last year.

What would you like to know

State attrition rate for teachers was 7.5% in 2019-2020, according to DPI

Union County’s attrition rate was slightly lower than the state average in 2019-2020

Student teacher used UCPS scholarship to help fund her college career in education

Union County State’s attrition rate was slightly lower at just under 7%. There were also a smaller number of vacancies to start the school year in 2019-2020, 27 across the county.

Spectrum News 1 asked for the current number of vacant teaching positions in UCPS institutions.

But, a county graduation scholarship program has helped a former student return to her old high school to teach this year.

Kaitlyn Waters, a graduate student at Wingate University, still walks the halls of her old high school. Not as a student, but as a student teacher.

Waters has been teaching American history to high school students since August. Her passion for history and teaching dates back to her childhood, when she lined up her soft toys and taught.

“I like to tell it like a story, because that’s what makes it fun, it’s what made me appreciate it,” Waters said in his class.

Waters takes a unique approach to the classroom, claiming that part of the teaching is in the delivery.

“I think when we can talk about dead elderly people like we’re just gossiping about them, maybe it’s a little more intriguing than, ‘This is Fort Sumter, it’s located in South Carolina,’ explained Waters.

Waters, a 2018 Piedmont High School graduate, is studying education and history at Wingate. She said it was fun, and sometimes weird, walking the halls of her old high school in a new role as a student teacher.

“Some of my teachers still, I’m Kaitlyn, I’m still their student they once knew and, you know, loved having in class. And so, it’s kinda weird being here and being a colleague with some of my favorite teachers, ”Waters said. with a smile.

Now she has a full workload of classes to teach, overseeing history and civics classes. As a student teacher in her final semester, she used them to build her portfolio to finish at Wingate and earn her bachelor’s degree.

But, her journey to the front of the class began in another school history class. She attributes her entire career to Marie Coggin.

“I fell in love with history in her classroom and it inspired me so much that I want to do what she does every day,” Waters said.

Coggin was Waters ‘grade 1 homeroom teacher in 2014. Coggin said she still remembers Waters’ first few weeks and gave him advice on how to plan her classes.

As the two grew closer, Waters wrote a Sweet Salute on Coggin towards the end of the past year. The brief essay, written about an inspiring teacher, won Waters a $ 1,000 scholarship, which she used at Wingate to start her career.

The Sweet Salute, sponsored by the Union County Education Foundation, currently awards eight scholarships of $ 1,500 each.

“I want to teach history and I want to have that kind of connection with my kids. I want them to have a room where they can come and feel safe. And they can be happy no matter what is going on in their life, ”said Waters.

“It’s a lesson in humility, because you just go through your day and try to reach as many kids as possible,” Coggin added.

The Sweet Salute is still framed in Coggin’s classroom, a testament to the impact Coggin had on his student.

Waters will apply for his license in December after graduating from Wingate. However, she now works at the Media Center at Piedmont High School as a distance learning facilitator. This work was an opportunity to make the link between the past and the present for this aspiring history teacher.