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Can you tell us about yourself? 

My name is Talicia Smith and I am currently located in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where I teach at Douglas Byrd Middle School, and I teach sixth-grade science. I teach middle-grade science. I've also taught eighth-grade science.


Why did you start a career in education?

It was a combination of wanting to help kids who struggle because I struggled. I was a good student, but there were things that I struggled with that I just didn't get. And because I was a good student in other areas, sometimes they'll just kind of get pushed away. I also wanted to become an educator to help students see that they can, that whatever it is that they want to achieve and that they want to do that they indeed can do it. So that was my reason for getting an education. I've been teaching at the school at Douglas Byrd, Middle School in Fayetteville, North Carolina for nine or 10 years now. Oh my goodness. The time kind of gets away from me. So for about nine or 10 years, I've been teaching at Douglas Byrd middle school, and I absolutely love it there.

If you could have any other job what would it be and why?

If I wasn't a teacher, what would I do? I really think I'd always be a teacher in some format. There was actually a job that I was interviewing for when I first moved to Fayetteville and it was not for teaching. And they said, if you couldn't teach, like what would you do? And I was like, what do you mean? What would I do?  I'm always going to be a teacher at heart, whether that's, you know, working in a different aspect and teaching, um, in a different format, maybe even in corporate America. But ideally my dream job would be able to help motivate other teachers and students. So if I wasn't teaching, I would be a motivational speaker to help encourage other teachers and students to pursue their dreams and to keep building the dreams of others. So that would be my dream job to just go and be a motivational speaker for others to encourage them and what they are doing,

How are kids different than they were 30 years ago?

Well, I will tell you that kids are kids and kids are inquisitive and I don't know so much that the kids are different. But I do know that the world is different and so the kids have adapted or have changed to meet the world that they live in. So, um, I'm not so sure when we say, how have kids changed over the 30 years of sure. There's aspects that have probably changed the family dynamics have changed, but what has changed most? Like I said, even with family dynamics is the world around them. And so children have changed to meet and to adapt to the world that they're living in.

How is Teaching different now than it was 30 years ago?

How has education changed? Well, we have taken the focus from the teacher, directed the teacher, being the sole focus of the learning to putting that learning and that responsibility of engaged and connected learning to the students so that they have some autonomy with that learning and that they have some ownership over their learning versus the teacher being the sole aspect of the learning. So teaching is developing, um, very differently than what it may have looked like 30 years ago. Technology has definitely advanced the way that we teach now. And so lots of different aspects, lots of different resources available to the education platform that weren't there many years ago. 

What would you tell someone who wants to become a teacher?

That's thinking about going into teaching. I would say do it. The world is waiting on these students that we teach and they can't get there unless we help them get there. And so for this person going into education, I would say it's probably more challenging than you ever dreamed of, but it's also more rewarding than what you've ever dreamed of. So don't delay pursuing your dreams. Go for it. I actually started school in civil engineering, never finished civil engineering here. I am an education and it's where my heart is. It's where my passion is and it's where I'm supposed to be. And so I would tell anyone that's thinking of pursuing education, go ahead. Because we changed the nation educators, change the nation because we're building the people who will have influence over the name, go for it. We need great teachers.

What would you change to help kids learn better?

And then if there was one thing that I could help kids learn, I would, we'll try to help them to learn a growth mindset. Because if you believe you can, no matter how hard the challenge, no matter what you're up against the faith and the belief in themselves that they can do it is the drive that they will need to achieve it. And so if there would be one thing that I could, uh, help teach children, it would be that growth mindset to believe that anything is possible. If I work hard enough and I want it badly enough, and that I'm able to pursue whatever the dream is, even if it's out of reach or somebody else says this dream is impossible. It might be an impossible dream for them, but it may not be an impossible dream for you. And so, uh, if I could teach kids anything, it would be to believe in themselves and to dream the impossible to work for it and then achieve what they've dreamed. So thank you so much for this opportunity. Thank you for listening.


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