Going Back to Where It All Started: Taylor Goldston, SST Graduate and Teacher

sst math teacher writing on chalkboard

We are proud to share this guest post written by Taylor Goldston, Math Teacher at the School of Science and Technology—Alamo (SST—Alamo), about her journey through SST as a student, what lead her to teaching, and how she sees every student she teaches at SST as a potential future leader.

Growing up, I never envisioned myself becoming a teacher. I knew two things: I loved animals and I had a huge heart for helping other people.

Motivated to Change Our Education System

Coming into the education system was never on my radar until my junior year of college. I signed up for Professor Wallace’s course Critical Perspectives in Urban Education and I was completely sold. I wanted to change our education system.

After speaking with my academic advisor, she advised me to first step into the classroom to gain the knowledge of what exactly needed to be changed. I still never envisioned myself being a teacher, but I listened with an open mind and signed up for the AmeriCorps program that was based on teaching in an urban area. We went through so many trainings, watched others teaching, and had rehearsals of how to teach and what to do when nothing goes as planned.

Looking back on it, it feels almost silly because nothing can compare to the real thing. Nothing can compare to being in front of 33 students staring at you, waiting for instructions on what they are going to do that day. That was probably the hardest year of my life, not just because I was a first year teacher trying to learn my newfound career right out of college. It was hard because I grew so much in the emotional aspect.

Growing as a First Year Teacher

Those 33 students not only pushed me to become the teacher I am today, they pushed to grow and see things and others in a way I have never seen before. They taught me that students can be a teacher to the teacher. They taught me perseverance, dedication, and compassion. They pushed me to grow patience, empathy, and firmness.

Throughout that first year of teaching, I had recollections of myself as a student and how my own teachers dealt with things. I even reached out to former teachers on my toughest days for their guidance and wisdom on how they managed to keep going. As the year went on, teaching to a class of 33 students that wanted nothing to do with school got easier. We gained an understanding of each other, more so me understanding them and their hardships they face outside of the brick walls they spend most of their days.

As the end of the school year approached, I still never envisioned myself as a teacher. What brought this change of view to me was one of my hardest students approaching me at the end of class during the last week of school. “Ms. G, I just wanted to say, thank you. Other teachers gave up on me a long time ago, but you never did, and I can never thank you enough for it.” That student soon became my why. Those 33 students were the start of me finding the reason for what I do.

Going Back to Where It All Started

After that school year, I moved back home and started a new season of trying to find what I wanted to do and what I wanted to teach. I still had a huge passion for wanting to change the education system, but I accepted that maybe I was meant to be in the classroom, changing the system from one student at a time. This is what lead me back to SST. I had attended SST from my 6th grade year until I graduated my senior year. I was very well versed in their mission and commitment to the community. Without SST pushing me academically, I would not have made it to where I was for college or where I am today.

What brought me back to where it all started for me was the teachers. I fully believe that I am the teacher I am today, not only because of my students, but because I had perfect examples of teachers that listened to their students, never gave up on them, and dedicated themselves to make sure we learned. I made the choice to come back to SST after graduating because of their commitment to helping their students.

SST not only shaped me as a student, they are still shaping me to be the best teacher I can be for the future leaders that are in my classroom. They dedicated themselves to my learning and they are still dedicating themselves to me as a teacher, so that I can help other students that were just like me. Students that were just like those during my first year teaching. Students that need to know what it feels like to not have someone give up on them, just as I had the privilege of having.

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Taylor Goldston, Math Teacher at SST—Alamo, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on November 17, 2020 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Taylor Goldston is a Math Teacher at the School of Science and Technology—Alamo (SST—Alamo). She is a graduate of the School of Science and Technology—San Antonio (SST—San Antonio) and Brandeis University. She sees every student she teaches at SST as a potential future leader.

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