When she first came to the University of Kentucky, Taylor Forrest wasn’t sure what area of study was the best fit for her.
“I told myself that I never wanted to be a teacher because that is all I knew,” she said. “My mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, everyone worked in the education profession and I knew all the good, and the bad, of it. But when every other major led to discontent, I took one education class in which I had to acquire observation hours in the school. Within my first visit to a second grade classroom, I knew that’s what I wanted to do forever.”
In the UK College of Education, she has found herself surrounded by people who share her devotion to the profession.
“The professors love education and they fill you with that same love and passion. They made me want to be a better teacher and made me want to better the lives of children.”
Forrest said it was a class in behavior management that taught her most about how to create her future classroom.
“We were taught how to make it our own, how to make it feel safe, warm, structured, and filled with growth and high expectations.”
And it was a class about teaching social studies that showed her how to make the content come alive to the students.
“I think these are my two main goals for my future classroom. I want students to feel loved and safe, but I also want them to love to learn and see themselves succeed.”
Forrest completed her student-teaching at Athens Chilesburg Elementary in Lexington.
“My supervising teacher was so encouraging to me and to the students. She was quick to compliment me when she saw something that was done well and also very honest in critiquing me. She made me feel so welcomed in her class and gave me freedom in my lessons to create and explore new ideas.”
The Louisville native says her educational experience at UK guided her to know everything from how to plan a lesson to how to contact teachers and principals, as well as the truths of what to expect in the coming years.
“I know it will be hard work and long hours, but because it’s for the kids, it makes it the most fulfilling job in the world, in my opinion. I just can’t wait to actually fulfill my own dreams so that I can help children do the same.”