Each year, we have the privilege of working with incredibly talented and dedicated educators who are passionate about their students and eager to grow and develop as highly qualified teachers. Today, we recognize one such teacher who came through the Ga TAPP program with Metro RESA. Mrs. Kelsey Bowen started her teaching career in Atlanta then went on to teach in Baltimore, MD at a school for students with emotional and behavioral challenges. She has recently started working with McGraw-Hill and their adaptive technology devices used to help with remediation on college campuses.
Mrs. Bowen’s passion for education started with a study abroad program with Virginia Tech. She had the opportunity to live and serve in Malawi. During that time, she realized the importance of teaching populations who did not have access to the same level of education that she had. After graduating, Mrs. Bowen joined Teach for America and was placed in Atlanta.
Going through Metro RESA’s GaTAPP program was a great fit for Mrs. Bowen to attain her certificate quickly while still teaching full-time. We are so proud of Kelsey’s many achievements and her dedication to helping her students succeed. While in the GaTAPP program, Mrs. Bowen received the prestigious 2014 Valari Mathis Camp Award of Excellence. She was also honored as a 2015 Outstanding Teacher by the National Association of Alternative Certification. Mrs. Bowen has had a successful Donors Choose campaign, which funded interactive games that align to reading standards.
Q&A with Kelsey Bowen:
Tell me about your experience as a first-year teacher in a new city…
The experience I had in Atlanta is truly irreplaceable. The students in Atlanta – There was something about them. The Administration was so open with us, which formed strong relationships. Relationships were key with my students as well. I was able to truly connect with them by taking them shopping, going out to lunch, etc. We raised money to go Christmas shopping for a family. These relationships made such a difference not only inside the classroom but also outside the classroom. Truly, the students did more for me than I ever could have for them.
What was the most difficult part of your first year teaching?
The first year, I felt lost and overwhelmed and scared. The program through MetroRESA was great preparation, and it really, really helped me through those first years.
I had a 3rd grader who started the year reading on a Kindergarten reading level. 5 months in, he read an entire book from start to finish. He started crying because he read a whole book and he never thought he would be able to do that.
What advice do you have for other new teachers?
- Remember why you started! It is easy to get wrapped up in test scores, grading and meetings. Refocus yourself regularly to remember why you got into this.
- Spend time forming relationships. When they can trust you, they will act better, do better and behave better.
- Ask for help!!! Observe other teachers in your school who you have heard good things about. Make the most of your mentor – take their feedback and ask for feedback.
- Once you get past that first year, every year gets a little easier.
What great advice! We want to extend our gratitude to Mrs. Bowen for all she does with students each and every day. We are thankful to have been a small part in her journey.