This educator spotlight on Giselle Lowe, a current paraprofessional pursuing her goal of becoming a licensed teacher through our Teacher Pathway program, is featured in “Along the Pathway”, our monthly Teacher Pathway newsletter. Each edition features updates regarding the Teacher Pathway program, participant and community partner spotlights, and programming goals our mentees are working towards that will support them in becoming dynamic educators in local classrooms. To receive the newsletter in your inbox each month, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southern Nevadan transplant Giselle Lowe is a prime example that it is never too late to go after your passions! “During my own childhood experience in elementary school, I discovered the joy of learning and decided at the age of 8 years old that I wanted to become a teacher. Admittedly, in my young mind, I thought becoming a teacher was the easiest career in the world – simply involving grading or check-marking work rather than actually completing it! Becoming an educator is an immense privilege and responsibility, while simultaneously offering a career that brings incredible satisfaction. I think we can all recall that one (or perhaps many) teacher(s) who left an indelible mark on our perception of learning and encouraged our curiosity. I want to positively motivate my future students in a manner that equips them to feel empowered to reach their full potential,” says Giselle. “I still recall my Math teacher, Mr. Winston who not only taught brilliant math and made numbers come alive; he also nurtured my belief in myself and the confidence to approach challenging topics – an invaluable gift that still resonates today.”
Inspired by her desire to make a similar impact on students, following her transition from working as an inflight attendant in aviation in the UK to moving to Southern Nevada with her family, Giselle jumped at the opportunity to pursue a career in education as an Instructional Assistant to the Resource Room in elementary schools for the past four years. She firmly believes that her experience in this position has confirmed her love of students, learning, and teaching.
While working at Hannah Brown Elementary School – a campus with a commitment to ensuring all children will be seen, heard, loved, and encouraged to develop to their fullest potential while building lifelong learners and contributing members of society with cross-cultural understandings – Giselle became aware of the Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Pathway program. She realized that acquiring her Bachelor’s degree and teaching license were two achievements that would inspire the students she supports to develop an interest in education themselves. “I feel that one of the most important cornerstones of education is to inspire a love of learning; I strive to do this every day by listening, hearing, and encouraging each student to feel confident in trying their best, while also remaining unafraid of making mistakes in their endeavors,” says Giselle.
Once the decision was made to transition once more, Giselle found herself developing a plan to achieve her goals. “The main hurdle I encountered was the financial barrier to achieving a Bachelor’s degree and expenses related to supplementary requirements, such as Praxis qualifications, necessary for licensure. As a person who is from outside the U.S. and a first-generation college student, the task of setting out to earn a degree can appear overwhelming. The PEF Teacher Pathway program has been a hugely beneficial resource, offering an experienced mentor who has provided invaluable guidance and moral support throughout our professional relationship,” says Giselle.
The Journey Continues
Following her acceptance into PEF’s Teacher Pathway program, Giselle quickly dove into her mentoring connection and the resources provided to her as a mentee in the program.
“The Teacher Pathway program has been a significant support by making it financially possible for me to consider pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, and also providing moral support through the mentor/mentee relationship, guiding me along the academic path to reach my goal.” When asked if she would recommend the Teacher Pathway program to her fellow paraprofessionals who may be considering becoming licensed teachers, Giselle has the following word of advice for her peers: “I would definitely recommend the PEF Teacher Pathway program as a path to licensure to any of my peers who are passionate about becoming a licensed educator. The moral support and financial assistance offered by the program facilitates the way for support professionals to become classroom teachers.”
Giselle recently had the opportunity to share her faith and confidence in the support provided by the Teacher Pathway program during a recent Senate Committee on Education hearing, when she provided testimony of the effect the resources and support she received as a mentee had on her while working toward her aforementioned goals. When asked why it was important for her to share her experience, Giselle stated “It is vital for our future students to have the optimum learning environment with qualified, engaged, intentional teachers. The Teacher Pathway program offers one way that taps into the valuable, and often incredibly experienced, homegrown resource of support professionals to address the chronic teacher shortage.”
When asked what she is looking forward to the most in her own classroom, Giselle shared, “Like many support professionals, I am an individual from a background that differs from the majority of our licensed educators. As a person of color, I feel and hope my presence enables students from diverse backgrounds, who may have dismissed teaching as a future career, to ‘see’ themselves in an educational setting. As a person from overseas, I believe I contribute another perspective to the school community, offering a different viewpoint and educational experience; I ultimately strive to educate, inspire, and encourage our future learners.”
We celebrate Mrs. Giselle Lowe as she prepares to participate in UNLV’s Paraprofessional Pathways Project and look forward to following her journey to a classroom of her very own!