By Matt Holubecki, City Year Milwaukee, AmeriCorps Member serving on the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Team at James Madison Academic Campus
Ms. Ivy, a freshman math teacher at James Madison Academic Campus, is an example of one of the many teachers at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) who have come full circle in the #MPSProud initiative. Not only is she currently a teacher for MPS, but she is a proud MPS graduate. After graduating from Rufus King High School, Ms. Ivy received her degree in mathematics from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.
Ms. Ivy admitted that she did not intend on becoming a teacher as early as she did.
“I always wanted to help students understand math and make it easier for them, she said. “I was always the one that others would come to for math help and, after getting a long-term substitute position in math, the transition into becoming a teacher became easier.”
Ms. Ivy and I sat down to have a conversation about what it means to be a teacher in Milwaukee. When I asked what the most important characteristic of being a teacher is, she responded immediately with “patience.”
“I think patience is the hardest thing about being a teacher. Everything is not going to be an ideal situation where all the students are sitting in the classroom paying attention,” Ms. Ivy said. “There are good and bad days, and even worse days, and it requires patience to monitor the level of irritation and frustration that a teacher may feel.”
Having worked with Ms. Ivy for so many weeks, I can say with complete certainty that she has an immense amount of patience. Inevitably, this directly translates to her ability to create strong student-teacher relationships that result in learning -- all while keeping an otherwise difficult age group in line.
I asked Ms. Ivy what she believed the secret to her patience was -- whether it was a trait that is developed over years of teaching or if it is something that comes naturally to her.
“I really try to reflect on what the consequence of my actions will be on the students. Everything I do will have a consequence in the classroom, whether it be good or bad,” she said. “If I yell at a student for their behavior or try to ignore their behavior, it will inevitably have a consequence.”