Instructional materials on shelves and bright motivational posters surrounded Madi Mott in her new classroom. These are common elements that most new teachers incorporate into their space.
But for this fourth-grade teacher at York Preparatory Academy, teaching at the school has become a full-circle experience. “I remember when the school was in a campus that we didn’t even really own yet,” said the 2017 graduate of the school. With a bachelor’s in elementary education from Winthrop University on her resume, she welcomed 25 students into her classroom on Aug. 10.
Mott says that for her, the relationships with the faculty and staff are one of the reasons she decided to teach full-time at her alma mater. “Everyone has been so welcoming throughout any experience I have had here, not only as a student but now as a member of the faculty,” said Mott.
This warm welcome back began with a connection to the program director of York Preparatory Academy’s afterschool program for a summer job opportunity. Mott says she is forever grateful for the chance that was taken on her because it gave her the experience in the field that pushed her to pursue a career in teaching. The former South Carolina Teaching Fellow says relationships she has fostered with faculty and staff also translated to building relationships with parents and families, which has helped to ease the first-year teaching anxiety.
In her first year, Mott hopes to use her classroom as a tool to build a positive self-image for her students – especially the students who may feel like school is not their niche.
“I love building kids up and want to focus on the students who may have had a negative experience with school in the past,” Mott said. “I’m really excited to work collaboratively with parents to understand them and understand how they view their child. Parents know what is best for their children, and I’m looking forward to growing their children academically and socially.”
York Preparatory Academy is a free public charter school founded in 2010. Located on a 43-acre campus in Rock Hill, South Carolina, York Prep provides education to students in Kindergarten through 12th grade who live in South Carolina regardless of the assigned school district. For more information or to learn about the school, please visit York Prep’s website at www.yorkprepsc.org