As a part of our continued collaboration with Teach for America, Tipton Associates has partnered with the organization to directly sponsor a teacher during the 2014-2015 school year.
Our teacher, Kate Sheeder, is a New Jersey native who is now teaching kindergarten at Rougon Elementary in Pointe Coupee Parish. She fell in love with the South Louisiana community when she worked as a City Year Corps Member in Baton Rouge after college.
“I joined Teach for America because I believe all children, regardless of race, sexuality or socioeconomic status, deserve an excellent public education,” Kate said. “More specifically I joined TFA SLA because… this community believes it takes a village to raise a child and I love to be a part of the village.”
Tipton Associates is looking forward to supporting Kate’s class and helping her connect even more with the Baton Rouge community. This includes a classroom visit in the coming month to get to know Kate’s students and see Teach for America at work. Teach for America South Louisiana currently teaches over 12,000 students locally and has 350 members and alumni.
Q&A with Kate
What positive effects have you seen Teach for America have on the South Louisiana community?
I think Teach For America has been able to give a lot of hope to the South Louisiana community, especially the education community. Day in and day out, teaching is one of the most difficult things to do. However, I’ve witnessed TFA teachers inspire the teachers around them and their students to continuously try their hardest and do their best every day.
How have you seen your class grow this school year?
I teach kindergarten, so I’m able to see SO much growth in my classroom simply because five and six year olds change so much. Academically, my kindergartners came to me knowing some letter sounds and were able to recognize a handful of letters. Now, the majority of my students have mastered their alphabet and can read simple stories like Green Eggs and Ham. To me, academic growth is important but behavioral growth is even more vital. I’ve seen my kindergartners learn how to share, say please and thank you and communicate with words not with pushing or shoving. Those improvements have really allowed my class to grow.
What do you enjoy the most about teaching in the Greater Baton Rouge area?
I love teaching in Pointe Coupee Parish because of the support I get from my kindergarten teaching team. I wouldn’t be half the teacher I was without the help of the other four kindergarten teachers. I also love the sense of community in South Louisiana. Everyone looks out for each other and I really appreciate that.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your Teach for America experience so far?
I honestly haven’t been surprised by too much this year. I knew a lot about Teach for America before I was accepted into the program. Because I was living in South Louisiana two years prior to joining, I also wasn’t very surprised by Louisiana or Louisiana culture. I can tell you, when I originally moved here in 2012, I was so surprised that Mike the Tiger was a real tiger! But, I know that’s not really connected to TFA.
What are your plans for the future after your time with Teach for America?
I joined Teach for America because I knew my passion was teaching. My plans after Teach for America are to continue teaching in South Louisiana. Specifically, I want to continue with early childhood education because I believe a child’s education foundation (pre-k through third grade) are vital to his or her success in school. Louisiana has really stole my heart, so I don’t think I’m leaving anytime soon!
Find out more about TFA South Louisiana here.