Published on October 7, 2020 by Leighton Doores  
Pam Smith copy

Degree/Year: Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary Education, and Collaborative Education, 2003; Master of Science in Instructional Leadership, 2008

Hometown: Memphis, TN

Describe your journey from Samford to your current position: Samford prepared me for a career in teaching by teaching me the value of self-reflection, especially of my teaching and learning. I recall keeping a journal during practicums and observations, evaluating my lesson plans, recording my teaching for review and constantly being challenged to think how I could continue to improve as a teacher. These reflection practices have helped me excel in teaching and also helped shape me into a life-long learner.

Did you always know this is what you'd like to do? I actually started as a freshman with a pre-med major and during my sophomore year, I realized I loved working with children and wanted to be a teacher. When I initially changed my major and began my courses in education, I knew it was exactly where I was meant to be. After graduating, I started teaching fourth grade for three years and then taught a math and science enrichment class for six years. I enjoyed watching students get excited about science experiments and solving problems!

What is your favorite Samford memory? One of my favorite Samford memories is Step Sing! I love the creativity of the performances, relationships I developed from the hours of practice, and the energy it brings to the Samford campus. I still enjoy attending Step Sing shows or streaming it from home and watching the performances with my children.

What advice do you have for current education students? 1. Connect with your students. It is 100 percent true that they need to know you care about them as a person rather than a student. Recognize their unique potential. 2. Teach with purpose that extends beyond the classroom. Consider ways you can engage your students making your lessons more life-applicable and focused around real-world problems. 3. Record yourself teaching. Constantly evaluate your teaching methods and lessons. Reflect on your practices and be open to change.