Mrs. Edgar: A well-traveled teacher

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Mrs. Edgar: A well-traveled teacher

Mrs. Emily Edgar shares her experiences teaching at home and abroad.

Mrs. Emily Edgar shares her experiences teaching at home and abroad.

Photo by Tristan Keopraseut

Mrs. Emily Edgar shares her experiences teaching at home and abroad.

Photo by Tristan Keopraseut

Photo by Tristan Keopraseut

Mrs. Emily Edgar shares her experiences teaching at home and abroad.

Jasmyn Webb, News Editor

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New Hope High School’s newest English teacher, Mrs. Emily Edgar, has traveled around the world in her career, teaching in many places, including Columbia and Australia.

Mrs. Edgar believes that teaching has always been something genetic in her family. From her grandmother, who was a teacher, to her great aunt, who was the NFL Teacher of the Year, family inspiration encouraged her as a little girl and has led her to teach for eleven years, and hopefully many more.

Because she went to graduate school at Ole Miss and completed her research project on Oxford Elementary School, she began her teaching career there.

Edgar states that her first year of teaching was crucial. Her classroom was a small trailer tucked behind the school with no source of air conditioning. Describing her first year as a “survival year,” Edgar believes that the year gave her skills for the future in numerous ways.

“My first year trained and helped me to teach every kid differently, to remember every kid was different, and to teach them individually and not as a whole group,” Edgar explained.

Edgar also learned that the burden of a bad day and personal mistakes should not be carried forever, nor held against her or her students. Even if one lesson or day went poorly, it didn’t mean that she was an ineffective teacher, or that her students are ineffective learners.

“Just because I let one day get to me doesn’t mean that the next day wasn’t a brand new day,” Edgar expressed.

During her first year Edgar reflected on how she could not fix it all for everyone, learning the tough way with a burden too big, despite her desire to mend every imposing situation.

She continued to teach in Oxford for two years, but did not necessarily want to be there forever. A teacher who was close to retirement and had also taught abroad in Venezuela, told her that just because her life was full of contentment doesn’t mean there was not more to it.

“She told me there wasn’t any reason for me not to step out of my balanced life and travel the world, and so I thought, ‘Oh, there isn’t.’”

Edgar was used to traveling. She had taken a year off from college to live in Australia teach at an Outdoor Education Camp. Australia was not too different from what she was used to because the language was the same, but her next move after Oxford would be a new challenge: a bilingual school.

She took her former coworker’s advice and spent two years in Columbia teaching English to students who were natural Spanish speakers. In Colombia, Edgar got a new view of the culture and sharpened her own Spanish. She also strongly believes in the newfound confidence that teaching abroad has given her as a teacher and a person.

“I taught bilingual students, so I felt I understood language acquisition more by teaching them because they spoke a different language. It helped me understand struggling readers.”

Edgar also explained that it helped build her confidence as a person, because she went to a place where she had no friends or family, she didn’t know the language, she lived alone, and she didn’t have any money. Edgar says that when she came home, she knew she was in for a fresh, self-assured ride.

“If I can do that, I can do anything.”

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