After working as a prenatal care teacher for teen moms, Kendall McNeil experienced the power of education first hand. It wasn’t just books and lesson plans, but it was a means of delivering justice to low income areas. After being encouraged by her peers to make the jump to elementary education, she went on to pursuing her master’s degree at Relay Graduate School of Education.
“As a first year teacher, I need people to look towards for guidance,” McNeil said. “My teachers not only instill a sense of optimism within me, reassuring me of how important the work I do with my students is, but they also push me to be confident for my students everyday. ”
While working to receive her Master of Arts in Teaching, McNeil also teaches Kindergarten reading at Memphis Delta Prep, a tuition-free, public charter school that opened it’s doors to the South Memphis community this fall.
“It was not only my first year as a teacher, but it was MDP’s first year as a school,” McNeil said. “Everyone was anxious and overwhelmed, but the energy that the MDP team brought to the table made it exciting. We all felt like first years growing together.”
Among the 3 Core Values at Memphis Delta Prep is “Smile: to enjoy the journey” which focuses on maintaining a level of positivity and enthusiasm so that students may have the same mentality towards their learning experiences.
“Students will be eager to learn if you’re eager to help them learn,” McNeil said. “My class was doing a study of Dr. Seuss and the general consensus among my students was that reading was not cool. It’s been fulfilling to see them develop a love or interest for literature, to see the students creating their own motivation to read and progress.”
McNeil approaches every day with the objective of showing her students just how amazing they can be.
“My teaching can only take them so far,” McNeil said. “I want my students to realize how much potential they have within themselves. A child is capable of doing so much more than they think and they need to feel empowered to create their own momentum.”