Kayla Epley: Substitute Teacher Quincy Public Schools, Graduate Student at Quincy University

What’s challenging/interesting/rewarding about my current job?

  • I love that I get to work with students across a wide age range and from a variety of backgrounds.  Even if you are in the classroom every single day, no day is ever the same. I love getting to know the students and knowing that I can provide some consistency in their lives.  A lot of children just don’t have that. I think they teach me a lot about life, too. Challenges range from behavior issues with students to making sure you are meeting the needs of every student, but both are important to creating relationships with these kids in the classroom.  

How do I use various communication proficiencies in my work?

  • Interpersonal communication is at the heart of what I do, even if it isn’t specifically what I am teaching.  It helps me effectively communicate with my students, both in teaching them content and building relationships with them.  The writing skills I learned are also very important. It helps me convey information to my students, write emails to my colleagues, and build lessons.  When I graduate from the MSE program and am teaching English full time, I am excited to try to pass on my love of journalism. I think it can inspire kids that think writing only consists of writing long essays.  

What surprised me about my career?

  • I didn’t really end up going in the direction I thought I would, but I am so glad that I ended up where I am now.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would end up in the classroom, I would have thought you were nuts. I also didn’t think I would ever go back to school, either.  

Here’s my number one piece of advice for Communication undergrads:

  • Be flexible and try new things.  Don’t be afraid to take risks and try a job that’s completely outside of where you pictured yourself.  When I started substitute teaching, it was really only so I could have the flexibility to raise my children and make my own schedule, but I loved it, and am excited about where I have ended up because of it.  Also, don’t be afraid to screw up.  Personally, professionally, whatever.  Mistakes make us who we are. I use to worry about that a lot, and it used a lot more mental energy than it should have.  Just enjoy the journey.

Class year: 2011 (December grad)

Previous jobs since graduation: Station Coordinator – Quincy Newspapers Inc (Now QMI)
Customer Services Manager, QNI

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