“I am passionate about having high expectations for my students.”
Mollie McGrath, Bryant Webster
A 4th Grade—ELA-S teacher at Bryant Webster, Mollie McGrath brings an international flair to her teaching perspective. The Wisconsin native spent her teen-age years growing up in Colorado and then studied at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley before moving back to her home state. But her hometown stay didn’t last long.
“After leaving a management position in Wisconsin, I went abroad to teach English in South Korea and Spain for three years,” said Mollie, who also lived in Chile for a bit. “Upon my return, I needed a new career path and teaching seemed like a natural next step.”
In 2015, Mollie returned to Colorado to begin her teaching career with DPS. Now two years into the job, she possesses enough experience to know she made the right career choice – as well as to identify some of the job’s more tasking requirements.
“Teaching here in the States is incredibly different from my experiences abroad,” she said. “It is challenging and stressful, and can often feel like an uphill battle.”
A well-seasoned traveler as well as an avid participant in the great hiking, biking and other outdoor activities Colorado offers, Mollie holds hopes that her students grow to experience a similarly enriching lifestyle.
“I am passionate about having high expectations for my students so they challenge themselves to go as far as they can in life,” she said. “I love my students more than I imagined and am so happy for the opportunity to be a stable, caring adult in their lives.”
The second-year teacher has some familiar-sounding observations about her burgeoning career. In a nutshell, it’s time – and the lack of it. The never-ending need for planning time, sometimes poorly focused meetings and increasing duties can overburden even the most organized teacher, she said.
“There are so many things that are asked of us that simply cannot be completed in an eight-hour workday,” she said. “I am with my students most of the day. There is planning time, but it’s too short to get anything of significance accomplished. It is simply not enough time to fulfill all the duties of the job.”
Professional development and ongoing teacher education are also high on Mollie’s list of priorities. She is frustrated by a lack of resources to help her improve her skills and take her teaching to the next level.
“As a new teacher I knew I wouldn’t be the best out of the gates, but with such little guidance, how can I be expected to improve?” she asked. “I have worked in other industries and know that for my knowledge and experience I could make much more. When the challenges feel insurmountable, it’s easy to consider leaving the profession, regardless of how much I love my students.”
Still, Mollie can’t imagine experiencing the same kind of satisfaction she enjoys in any other profession.
“I cannot put into words how much each of my students means to me, or how the opportunity to build a relationship and make a positive impact with each of them enriches my life,” she said.
If you know of a DCTA teacher that should be featured here, please email their name and contact information to Amber Wilson – DCTA Secretary.