Kayleigh Miller ’21 will join Teach For America in San Jose, Calif., after graduation. Here she talks about her interest in service programs and teaching.
What will you be doing with Teach For America and when do you start?
It’s a two-year program, and I will be teaching in an underprivileged community in San Jose, South Bay, Calif. I’m assigned to elementary/middle school multiple subjects. I started training already, and it goes on throughout the spring and summer. I should start teaching in the classroom by late August.
Why did you apply to the program?
I was looking at service work programs and teaching programs for the short-term to see what I like, and I was really interested in education policy after sophomore year. I took this class [Topics in Public Policy], and the topic that semester was education. So we talked about education policy and disparities in education for the whole semester, which was really cool because it was such a small, niche subject that we really got to look at. After that, I was really interested in potentially teaching, at least for a little bit after college.
Major: Public Policy
Hometown: Mahopac, N.Y.
HS: Mahopac High School
What are you looking forward to?
I’m from New York and have always lived in New York, so I’m excited to try something new there. More importantly, I’m mostly excited to teach and be in the classroom because it’s hard to actually imagine that right now. As I go through training, I feel like I’m just a student and I’ve never taught in front of a real classroom. It’s kind of scary and exciting to know that I’ll be the main teacher for a whole group of students and that I’ll be shaping their formative years.
What are your ultimate career goals?
I think now I want to go into some sort of policy or government [position], and I think that education policy is one that most interests me, so we’ll see if my experience with Teach For America changes that or makes me more interested.
Are you involved in any extracurriculars?
I play on the soccer team, and I’m also a network associate for the Career Center on the Connect Team. I’m a school coordinator for Strong Girls, and I’ve done some volunteer work. I volunteered with HAAND [Hamilton Autism Advocates for Neurodiversity] a lot my freshman and sophomore year and also with the Odyssey Development Academy.
I was wary and skeptical at first about applying to Teach For America because I don’t know if I want to teach or if I’m going to like it — I think I will, but I don’t know yet because I’ve never done it to this scale. But I would encourage people to apply because I think Hamilton students are equipped to do well.