Texas Tech University

Rural Roots: The Making of a Teaching Legacy

Robert Stein

April 5, 2019

The following is a profile of a teacher candidate in the College of Education's TechTeach Across Rural Texas teacher preparation program and a recipient of Raise Your Hand Texas' Charles Butt Scholarship for Aspiring Teachers. The story and video first appeared on the Raise Your Hand Texas website:

Ever since she was a young girl, Taylor McWilliams dreamed of becoming a pediatrician.

She had the grades, the support of her family, and the desire to help children in need.

So when she had the opportunity to ask her pediatrician some questions during her annual exam, she took it. Taylor expected to feel reassured and confident about chasing her dream. But that's not what happened.

"I realized that it was a profession for someone who was passionate about science and liked children, and that was not the order that I had my priorities in," she said.

Taylor McWilliams and a student

Fate had something else in store for this talented small-town girl who was selected for her class' homecoming court and voted "hardest working," "most intelligent," and "biggest heart" by her peers. Both she and her parents were surprised by how much her small-town upbringing, strong family roots, and desire to make a similar lifelong impact for children influenced her ultimate decision.

"I reevaluated what I wanted from life and decided to go into teaching. I feel as if this profession is the best and most efficient way in impacting a child's life in a positive way," she said.

Taylor's decision to pursue teaching reflects a continuation of her family's legacy of giving back and improving their communities through public education.

Read the full story on Raise Your Hand Texas' website.

About TechTeach Across Rural Texas

TechTeach Across Rural Texas is a clinically intensive, competency-based program designed to prepare teachers who will improve the academic achievement of K-12 students. The program focuses on building a pipelines of teacher talent for rural areas by encouraging K-12 and community college students to remain there and teach after graduation. Associate degree holders can earn a bachelor's degree and teaching certification in one calendar year.

The program features a rigorous, yearlong teaching residency at the school district where teacher candidates will eventually work. A $15,000 stipend supports candidates during the residency.