Heartland educator prepares for first full year of teaching

Southern Ill. teacher begins first year.
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 5:00 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2023 at 5:30 PM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Ill. (KFVS) - While many students across the Heartland are getting the back-to-school nerves, their teachers are busy preparing for the upcoming school year.

And as one teacher in southern Illinois is preparing for her new students, she is also getting ready to start her new career.

“I’m very excited,” said first-year teacher Madison Crews. “I mean, this is where I went to high school and getting to come back as a teacher is coming full circle. It’s kind of surreal.”

Crews will be teaching physical education at Mount Vernon Township High School. After working as a substitute teacher, she already knows many of the students quite well.

“I know a lot of the kids. I’m really interested to see how they react to me as a teacher,” Crews said. “I feel like as a sub, being so young, they treat me as a friend kind of. And they know we follow the rules with Miss Crews, but now it’s like, ‘oh she puts my grades in, she can talk to my parents, she has access to all of my grades, she’s in charge now.’”

Crews said she received some great advice from a senior teacher.

“I had a teacher who has been here for years give me the best advice,” Crews said. “And she said, start out mean, just be mean. Lay down the law. You can always get nicer as you go.”

Mount Vernon Township High School Superintendent Melanie Andrews said first-year teachers go through an orientation, so they’re ready for your child.

“First-year teachers, they may struggle with classroom management or grading or they just have questions,” Andrews said. “And the best way to answer those questions is to have a group of peers to help you with that.”

Andrews said first-year teachers should not be afraid to reach out for help if they have questions.

“The key thing that I want to tell new teachers whether they’re here at Mount Vernon or anywhere: don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Andrews said. “There’s no such thing as a dumb question.The only way you’re going to find out an answer is if you ask.”

As for Crews, she said she is going to take it day-by-day as she gets settled into her new role, and she is very excited for the school year to begin.