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Latoya Perry is the director of teacher leadership at Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Academy in Michigan. She has previously served as a faculty advisor, has taught first grade math and has held a position as a third grade elementary school teacher. Her current role puts her in the position to offer guidance and expertise to elementary school teachers. She offers guidance and support to educators that directly benefit the children in the classroom.
Perry plays a pivotal role in teacher development and is an instrumental part of helping them become successful teachers. Perry took some time from her busy schedule to share her experience as an educator with us and how her education directly impacted her success as an educator and beyond.
What degrees did you obtain in order to become a teacher?
“I received my master’s degree from George Mason University in elementary education. I also participated in Teach for America. I am the director of teacher leadership at Southwest Detroit Lighthouse Academies. I am the instructional coach there and I help support teachers. I became a teacher to help close the achievement gap. I have a passion for children and I believe that all children should have access to a good education.”
What is the most challenging aspect of teaching in the classroom environment?
“The most challenging aspect is adapting to the needs of 25 to 30 individual children. Each child needs something different and as a teacher you have to master the art of diagnosing their needs and teaching based on that. Each day is different. I am tasked with different responsibilities and I must use different techniques to support my teachers. I think the biggest lever in a school is strong relationships with students, parents and teachers. Through strong relationships, I am able to navigate through any difficult situation.”
How does your college education translate into the classroom?
“It was directly related. I began teaching and completing graduate coursework at the same time. I was able to apply what I learned in class that night to my instruction the next day. Needless to say, I did a lot of on-the-job training.”
Do you have any advice for people wanting to enter into the teaching profession?
“Teaching kids is the best decision I ever made. Lead with your heart, love your kids and know that they can achieve anything with your support. Teachers help give children a better tomorrow.”
After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at www.metalleaves.com and Examiner.com.