Teacher Spotlight: Paige Arthur


Q: What made you decide to go into teaching?

 I was a young life leader in college and I really like leading high schoolers, I liked talking to them about what they thought about God and also building relationships with them. So I went into college as a communications major, but wasn’t really passionate about it, and then I realized I would like to do something similar to young life, and I thought about teaching, and I had always enjoyed English class in high school so I decided to be a high school English teacher.

Q: What has been the most surprising thing about teaching that you didn’t really expect?

 I guess how hard it is to maintain a good balance between holding high expectations but also building relationships. I think that’s a hard balance, especially in the beginning because I want to know my students, but I also have to run a classroom.

Q: What was your student teaching experience like?

 My student teaching was so different than this. I was at a big public high school and I had six classes, and almost a hundred students, so it was way different, I had a lot of students that had learning disabilities, so I had to modify things a lot. I was in more of an urban area, and a lot more students had really rough home lives. I felt really invested in my students because of their struggles, and it’s not that KCC students don’t have struggles, but they were different struggles. Some of these people were homeless, or didn’t know where their next meal was coming from so that was like really emotionally hard to carry. It was different, but I loved it. They were really sweet, and my host teacher was awesome. She taught me so much.

Q: How would you compare your student teaching experience to your first year teaching in terms of the faith aspect? How did you build relationships then and now?

I think it’s a cool basis of building those relationships because I can be way more open about who I am and my story, and what I believe in, so that’s been fun in a really freeing way. I think I feel a lot more comfortable here because I feel like I can be honest about what I believe in, which is a huge central part of who I am. Teaching in public school I couldn’t be up in front of the classroom and talk about worldview struggles, and be like here’s my story or here’s the truth. So, I feel like relationships have been built so quickly because of that.

Q: What has been the best part or your favorite part of teaching?

I think there are certain moments during class discussions were I forget that I’m teaching, and we kind of forget that we’re in this school environment because we’re having a lot of fun and the conversation is really engaging, and we’re all so locked in and tuned in on what we’re talking about that it’s super enjoyable. That’s when I remember why I love this because everyone is so engaged in discussion.

Q: In general how has your faith affected the way that you teach or approach teaching in a classroom setting?

 I’m able to make so many more connections in class (especially during this poetry unit) and with socratic seminars, just about from a christian perspective or worldview, how is this author incorporating their faith. I think the biggest way my faith has influenced my teaching is getting to offer you guys grace with small things. Regardless of what you learn in my class, whether you learn a ton or you learn nothing at all [my hope is] that you would know Christ a little bit better through your interactions with me and through being in my class.

Q: What was the most impactful thing for you in your education growing up?

 I think honestly I didn’t really like school until I got to college. So I did have some really good teachers in high school, I had some good English teachers and I loved art, but it wasn’t really until college that I fell in love with school. In high school I did okay, but didn’t always try my hardest or do my best because I didn’t always see the value in it, I was more focused on doing well in sports and talking to my friends. So, it wasn’t until college that I had a couple of professors who really instilled the love of teaching in me and just like the importance of being a good teacher and educating the next generation to be leaders and to be spearheading new things and companies and so I think it was a couple different professors who were really passionate about their students and just really passionate about what they were teaching. I had one teacher who was so creative and so passionate about teaching and that totally rubbed off on me, and made me want to be a really, really excellent, creative, engaging, English teacher.

Q: What advice would you give to your past self about teaching?

 Whenever there is a conflict with a student or I have to discipline a student, to know that they may be upset for a little while and for now, but because I get to see you every day that relationship can be redeemed. Even if I wrong one of my students there, is opportunity to apologize, while I extend grace to you guys, there is grace for me in that as well because I’m not perfect, I’m human and sinful too. So I would tell myself that basically it’s okay if you make a mistake or if someone gets their feelings hurt, whether it’s a grade or I said something the wrong way because there will be opportunity to restore that and reconcile and for forgiveness. I don’t have to dwell on that so much and take that so hard because I think that really does affect me a lot, which is sometimes good and sometimes not.