Middleton graduates from teaching program

Published 3:41 pm Saturday, June 3, 2017

By Mary Stewart | The Selma Times-Journal

Selma native Katianne Middleton is part of the first class to graduate from the Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program.

Middleton graduated from Morgan Academy and had a dream to go to the University of Mississippi for her freshman year. She wasn’t sure she would be able to go due to out of state tuition, but all that changed when the university announced a new scholarship program for incoming education students.

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The program offers a full ride to students who are selected.

Applicants must have a 28 on the ACT and at least a high school GPA of a 3.5. When looking through applications, the instructors are also looking for involvement in high school, and Middleton checked all these boxes.

She knew that with this program she would be able to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher.

“I have always wanted to teach math. I’ve always wanted to go into education of some sort,” she said. “It gave me the opportunity to go to Ole Miss, and I was getting paid to go to school to do what I love.”

Middleton said she feels that the program has prepared her for her future career because she spent so much time in real classrooms.

“The biggest thing is, as a member of M.E.P.T. and a math education major at the University of Mississippi, I had the opportunity to do a yearlong student teaching.”

Middleton was there working in the classroom from the students first day all the way through graduation, even though her graduation was the week before theirs.

She said she learned a lot of valuable skills during her year student teaching, but she loved getting to know her students best.

“Getting to be there that full year really allows you to see the change in your students and how they progress,” she said. “It also gives you a lot things to think about and consider as your developing in the classroom.”

Middleton was also able to get into the classroom much earlier than other education students due to the program.

“Most education students, the first time they step foot in high school classroom is the end of their junior year,” she said. “The first time I was placed in a classroom to do observation and clinical hours, I was a freshman. So, I observed every semester from my freshman year all the way through graduating.”

Middleton said she would never trade her experience for the world, but she admits at times it could be stressful.

“I’m not going to lie, student teaching for a year is tough especially when you’re a college senior, and you want to live every moment with your friends,” she said. “It was 100 percent worth the challenge. I feel like I’m ready for teaching next year, and I feel like I can make a much bigger impact in the school system.”

Due being the first in the program she said they had some ups and downs in the beginning.

She said that the program has grown tremendously since she was first accepted. The M.E.T.P. offers the scholarship to secondary English and math majors, and they have now offered it to special education and elementary education majors as well.

The program has also expanded so that 30 students can be invited to join the program.

“I’ve loved to see that the program has grown as my class has gone through,” Middleton said.

“A lot of things that they’ve done with us, they’ve learned to make some adjustments for the classes coming in.”

Middleton has excepted a position teaching Algebra 1 at Brandon high school in Brandon Mississippi, but she has hope of one day moving back to Alabama.

“I’d like to move back to Alabama definitely the central area maybe somewhere outside of Selma because my family has been there for generations, and it’s always home,” she said.