My life’s goal is to make a difference in the lives of others through education. As an aspiring early childhood teacher, I want to learn the best ways to advocate for, teach, and lead the next generation of students.

Education has always been a priority of mine; I believe with an education, the world is yours. As an educator, I want to shed light on the issues surrounding our early learning investments, the racial achievement gap in our communities, and the ways that we can allow each child to have the same opportunities.

Interning at SCORE has given me hands-on experience in the field of education. I’ve been able to explore my interests and see the many opportunities that education offers – in addition to teaching. I’ve gained insight on the teacher recruitment process, literacy curriculum and implementation, and early childhood research. Most importantly, though, I’ve been able to incorporate my own teaching experience and feedback. All these things are important when preparing to become a teacher who will ultimately help shape and cultivate a child’s mind.

Though teaching has a profound impact on our society, I feel the profession is not fully appreciated. Teaching is hard work that requires a lot of preparation. Teachers take an exam known as the Praxis test, which is used by many states to make decisions regarding the licensing of new educators. Each Praxis test takes about 120 minutes; you must meet a minimum score in order to pass or wait 21 days to retake the exam.

New educators must take Praxis 1 and 2, plus an additional test (depending on the subject or grade they want to teach). It’s a rigorous process, and the test has a hefty price tag – the highest being $150. There are waivers to cover the cost, but without one, you must pay the full price. I took the Praxis test four times before passing, each time missing by only a couple of points. It was a discouraging process, and many times I wanted to give up. But I couldn’t, because teaching is the only thing I want to do.

Becoming an educator takes dedication, hard work and support. SCORE allowed me to connect with other teaching professionals who have experienced similar and entirely different paths. It made me realize that I wasn’t alone and that many teachers have the same stressful story. Those encounters allowed me to walk away with new material or things to question as I complete the process.

SCORE has pushed me to think beyond a classroom perspective, to see myself as advocating on behalf of educators to government officials, organizations, city councils, and others. With this mindset, I have been able to think more broadly and see the bigger picture. I can now imagine the different pathways of education – from research, advocacy, law, management, and more – to understand how education is studied, used, and executed.

I found SCORE to be a place where actions speak louder than words. It’s an environment that inspires you to do better and to be better – always striving for excellence. Our goals here are to make sure that each child receives an excellent education, earns a postsecondary degree, gains economic independence, and finds equitable opportunities for success. These goals do not seek short-term or temporary change but lasting change that can affect future generations. 

Thanks to my time at SCORE, I feel better prepared as a future educator and as an overall advocate and leader. This internship has given me better perspective into why I want to be an educator. It’s because I want to change lives, allow students to discover and explore their world, allow them to grow and see their potential. But it’s more than that. I see my path ultimately leading to research and advocacy work within my community. I see myself working to advocate so that every child has the opportunity to succeed.

Hailee Bryant-Roye is an intern at SCORE.