Ms. Bailey, Locust Grove’s IPLL

Tyler Hooker , Wildcat Chronicle Reporter

Mrs. Kathryn Bailey is our school’s leader in Instructional and Personalized Learning. Having taught at our school for quite some time now, she’s an example of where a teacher can be after years of hard work and tenacity. She is determined to get her students where they should be and even beyond that. Being interested in her thought process and what keeps her going, we asked her a couple of questions.

What responsibilities come with your job?

In a nutshell, I am responsible for advancing personalized learning opportunities at the school which means that I am in charge of a couple of things:

1)      Facilitating school-wide, authentic learning initiatives (i.e. the Capstone)

2)      Providing teachers with professional development opportunities, observations and feedback, etc. to promote their growth as teachers and to ensure that students are getting authentic, engaging, empathetic, and personalized classroom experiences

3)      Offering insight to other schools, professionals in the field, etc. about the world of personalized learning and what it specifically looks like at LGHS (sometimes this looks like coordinating and giving tours)

4)      Speaking on behalf of and advocating for teachers as well as promoting student agency on our leadership team.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

Every single little thing. I was (obviously) a teacher before I stepped into this role, and it is the most fulfilling and rewarding job I can imagine. I am a lover of people, and so the joy of getting to know each and every student and watching them grow is something I can hardly even explain. Even the days that I cried because of overwhelm or frustration, I still knew that the classroom is exactly where I was made to be. I was (and still consider myself to be) an English teacher, and so especially getting to watch students discover more about themselves through writing and sharing their own stories will forever be my favorite thing about this work. In this role now, I’m able to work with larger amounts of and different types of people which is a really good, challenging experience for me, but I will always miss the classroom until I am back in it again.

What is the most difficult thing about teaching for you?

This is really hard to talk about, but losing students. I have had a handful of past students pass away within a year of being in my classroom, and that is the most painful thing to experience. I will always question if I loved them hard enough, if I listened to them enough, if they knew that I cared about them as deeply as I did. You create really close bonds with these people you see every single day, and they truly begin to feel like your family. To lose them is a gut-wrenching, awful feeling.

If you taught elsewhere, where was it and what did you teach?

I have taught at two high schools prior to LGHS – Union Grove High School (my first year teaching) and Hampton High School. I taught Literature and Composition at both – 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, with 12th being my favorite.

What advice would you give to students who are soon graduating?

You don’t know what you want to do in your career until you try it. Trust me. As soon as you possibly can, experience the work that you think you want to do – shadow someone, get a part-time position or internship, etc. Don’t waste your money o n a college degree you don’t need or in a field you don’t end up even liking.