Metro RESA is proud to have played a part in equipping and empowering thousands of educators through the years. One such teacher came through the GaTAPP program 6 years ago and is inspiring girls in her school and community through dance.
Audrey Waters teaches dance at Coretta Scott King Young Womens Leadership Academy, an all-girls school within the Atlanta Public School System. After graduating from college with a degree in Art History, Audrey spent a couple years performing with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s Second Company in Ohio. During that time, she taught dance on the side but longed to be in the classroom full-time.
Ms. Waters moved back to Atlanta, and since there were not any dance teacher positions open, she taught at a local studio and became a kindergarten Para-Pro until a dance position became open. The Principal was a bit reluctant because she wanted someone with a clear renewable certificate. Luckily, Ms. Waters was prepared. “I had done my research and knew I could use a permit certificate. A friend went through Metro RESA and suggested I should go through the program to get my certificate.”
As they say, the rest is history. Audrey has been teaching dance at Coretta Scott King ever since, and she began the GaTAPP program with Metro RESA after her first year in the position.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching?
My first year was really tough. Really, really tough. Every class was dysfunctional. Now, we have gotten to a point where the students own it and encourage each other, and that is really rewarding to watch. In the beginning of the year, they come in very timid and not sure of themselves with movement and dance etiquette, but by the end of the semester they are so confident. They care about doing their best and putting together quality performances. They care not because I tell them, but because they own it and want to for themselves.
You received a PERFECT tKES score, which is unheard of! What advice do you have for current candidates or those who are considering the program?
Time management is key!!! This includes being proactive, not procrastinating, not waiting till the last minute, staying on top of when a class is offered and due dates. Thoroughly read through the EdTPA manual! I remember when we got the manual early on, and Dr. Mosely said, “Take some time over the break to read through it.” I realized later why she said that because it takes time to dissect and understand what it’s asking for. Really take time to read the manual and understand before you dive in to the task.
Since you already had some classroom experience under your belt when you started with MetroRESA, were the courses still helpful?
Metro RESA was really fantastic. The information they shared was so useful. It wasn’t just sitting in a classroom for the sake of getting hours, it was really thoughtful and well planned information that helped me in the classroom. Everyone there was so caring.
Most candidates are brand new to teaching. I had 10 years of experience. Sitting through the classes, I hate that I didn’t have it my first year. Each class was full of awesome information and laid out in a great way. I most definitely learned new information. It clicked for me because I could connect it with my classroom experience. The coursework also helped me understand the language so I could convey to Admin who came and observed me.
Ms. Waters – Thank you for your commitment to investing in your students. Thank you for the change you have made in their lives and in the surrounding community. You are empowering your students by giving them confidence and something to be proud of. We are proud of you!