Arkansas Teacher Corps 2018 fellow Tonya Bobo is one of sixteen educators who have been featured in a recently published book, Relate, Then Educate: The Untold Stories of Teachers, by Teachers. Tonya is a long-time educator who has taught elementary education in several central Arkansas school districts, including Jacksonville Lighthouse Charter School, North Little Rock School District, and Jacksonville-North Pulaski School District. Tonya has also served as an elementary content leader for ATC, mentoring other fellows teaching elementary grade levels. Check out this Facebook video for an excerpt of Tonya’s interview with Relate, Then Educate author Rick Holmes and get a copy of the book to read more about how she became a teacher at the age of thirty-seven, a time when she advocated for her students, and her advice to new teachers to “embrace the discomfort and learn from it”.
Highlight from the chapter: “As a kindergarten teacher, it is my honor to teach students how to read. We work through the letters of the alphabet, the sounds those letters make when they’re by themselves and when they’re grouped together. We firm up the shaky ground some students are standing on in the fall, and they emerge more solid and confident come spring. I’m passionate about this age group and this critical skill, and to deepen my expertise, I’d participated in some intensive educator training. In addition, I was a member of the Arkansas Teacher Corps, an organization committed to helping teachers provide equitable educational experiences, so I was receiving not only instructional best practices and classroom tactics from my professional development; I was also being strengthened as an educator and encouraged to advocate for myself and my students, however that might look in my daily role. I entered the school year poised for success and ready to put my new tools into action.”
About the book: Compiled by two former educators, Relate, Then Educate contains the firsthand stories of sixteen seasoned educators’ professional hurdles and personal moments of heartbreak and joy. To be an educator is to be thrown into the classroom without much practical training. Young teachers can languish for years without knowing if they’re “doing it right,” and, despite the wealth of tactical curriculum resources available, the intangible needs of educators often go overlooked and unmet. Former educators Rick Holmes and Andrea Avey understand this perspective well; they collected the stories within Relate, Then Educate for teachers seeking experienced insight and support as they decide the trajectory of their career. This unbiased collection of candid and approachable experiences are written to challenge, inspire, correct, and console teachers—and humans—who need direction. It features stories of unthinkable tragedy, like the tragic death of a student midyear, and rich rewards, like lifelong friendships with students. Relate, Then Educate breaks down each teacher’s story into three segments: their path into education, a defining moment in their career, and an instructional best practice.