Take 5 with Elom Edoh (South Dakota ’15) on Preparing Students for College
What made you want to join Teach For America?
Education has always been a passion of mine because I believe it can empower students from under-served backgrounds to achieve their personal and professional aspirations. Additionally, I believe in the power of putting young teachers in the classroom, thereby creating diversity in our schools and training teachers to become future leaders of our communities. Students need more role models that they can identify with and that has been part of my guiding principle as a teacher.
How are you working to consistently incorporate culturally responsive teaching practices into your daily work?
In my work, I create space for open dialogue where my students can be themselves and discuss issues that are important and relevant to their identity. I take the approach of promoting understanding and constantly encourage my students to take pride in their culture and their personal experiences.
What do you look forward to in your current role? What further impact do you hope to see in your classroom or school communities?
I look forward to seeing a lot of my students taking the road of post-secondary education whether at a 4 year college or university, 2 year community college or the military. I’m excited to see all that they will accomplish as they step into their own leadership in their careers and communities. In my role, I also focus on supporting juniors by helping them prepare for tests such as the ACT and exploring college options, so they will be ready to navigate the college admissions process.
How are you working to promote college-readiness within your school and respective communities?
I partner with my school community to promote college-readiness by leading ACT and college prep classes and coordinating activities and events designed to help our families explore their post-secondary education and training options. A big part of my role also is communicating often with parents to ensure they have resources to help successfully prepare their children for college and career. Every day, my colleagues and I try to find new and innovative ways to stress the importance of attaining a college education or job training and how those steps will impact our students’ lives ahead.
What is the result, that you’ve played a role in achieving, of which you’re most proud?
I have worked closely with a few colleagues this year to give many of our seniors the support necessary to apply to college and navigate the financial aid system. I’ve seen many of my students get accepted into the colleges of their choice and that makes me extremely proud and excited for their future.
What advice do you have for the 2018 corps?
I will simply say, ‘be yourself.’ Bring your whole identity to the classroom and don’t be shy about sharing your experiences with you students. It is more likely that you will be learning as much from your students as you’ll teach them. So, it helps to keep an open mind and adapt to the many situations you’ll encounter in your region.