Sipsey Valley alumna finding niche in classroom
By David Miller
As the sun peaks over the horizon and through the blinds, Victoria Anthony prepares for another workday.
Her routine is familiar. Her destination is the same. Every second of her schedule today is accounted for, just like the day before. However, each day is wildly different than the one before it.
Anthony is a kindergarten teacher, responsible for the growth, development and safety of more than a dozen high-energy children.
Her classroom is both a haven and a testing ground.
“I love being a teacher,” she said. “But to be successful, you have to be consistent, organized and discipline.”
These pillars for success were developed from both a type-A personality and tutelage in Stillman College’s School of Education, from which she’ll receive her degree in education Saturday morning. Anthony completed her internship and course requirements in December and is currently teaching at the Alberta School for the Performing Arts.
Anthony, a Sipsey Valley High School alumna, says the head-start she has on some of her graduating peers has been rewarding. She’s reminded daily of why she changed her major to education when she transferred from Blue Mountain College.
“At the end of the day, when you see a child go from struggling to read to reading confidently, you know you’re making a difference,” Anthony said. “It gets me every time, like ‘oh, I taught them to do that.”
Working full-time in education has been challenging, too. Anthony and her husband, fellow Stillman alumnus Marcus Anthony, have a 2-year-old boy. Work-life balance in a tough profession has been a baptism by fire, especially when entering a classroom mid-year, she said.
But Victoria credits Stillman faculty for preparing her for the challenges she’s faced.
“I had a lot of support from experienced educators,” she said. “That in itself makes the Stillman experience rich. You’re going to get the knowledge from people that have already been through it and will support you.”
A new direction
Victoria’s first major was biology, but after she and Marcus each left Blue Mountain, she began to ponder her future. She’d aspired to work in medicine but “knew biology wasn’t me.” Still, she knew she wanted to work with children.
A conversation with Dr. Cynthia Warrick, Stillman College President, would lead her to the School of Education.
Warrick reviewed Victoria’s transcript, particularly her grades in English, and recommended Victoria take a couple of courses in the School of Ed to see if it fit. Victoria was immediately captivated by teaching pedagogy.
“I didn’t know what all went into teaching,” Victoria said. “But diving into the material was so intriguing, and it was something that, off the bat, I could understand.”
Victoria’s fascination with “the science and art” of teaching grew with each class. Figuring out how to reach all children and teaching “the whole child” helped her visualize her future in the classroom, where “doing things the right way” would align with her personality.
Her favorite classes were “Expression through the Arts,” “Children’s Literature” and “Foundations.”
“Children’s lit had many different components, but learning the concepts of print and how a child should be reading were interesting,” Victoria said.
“I miss the faculty”
While Dr. Warrick opened the door, Victoria says Dr. Dorothy Richardson, former interim dean for the School of Education, kept her in the room.
Victoria said Richardson was integral in her decision to major in education and keeping her on track.
“Dr. Richardson is a veteran educator – worked central office, the classroom … all of that,” Victoria said. “She’s the one that got me excited and interested in teaching. I could not have done it without her.”
Victoria said she misses seeing faculty members each day and the supportive, family-like environment they fostered in the School.
“There’s not one person you’re not going to know,” she said.
Now, she contemplates where her next home and “fit” will be. She’d like to teach upper elementary school children – she interned in second and fifth-grade classrooms.
“Once you find your niche – that grade that’s perfect for you – you’ll find your home,” Victoria said.