Mackenzie Reed began her career in sports after earning a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the College of Charleston (CofC) in South Carolina. Born and raised in Southern California, Reed played college softball the full four years she attended, continuing to play while earning her MBA with a focus in finance. She also threw javelin on the track and field team for CofC.
“After my graduate year, I had my first full time job as an assistant softball coach at Coker College, now Coker University, in the middle of nowhere South Carolina,” Reed said. “I missed living away from my boyfriend, now husband, so much that I started looking for a job near him after that softball season at Coker. The assistant softball coach position opened up at Delaware State University, so I applied and got the job!”
Reed met her husband, who played baseball at CofC, and he is originally from the Milford/Lincoln area, leading her to pursue the position at Del State. She worked at the university for two years until the head coach left and she began looking for a new job.
“I was no longer interested in bouncing around the country, which is often required in the college sports world, so I decided to pursue teaching and coaching at the high school level,” Reed said. “As a coach, you find yourself in a teacher/teaching role quite often. When I had to make the decision on where I wanted to go after my head coach left DSU, I considered teaching/coaching positions that would not require me moving or traveling around so much. I came up with the idea of high school, mostly encouraged by the idea of coaching high school softball more than teaching at the high school level. To this point, I had worked with many high school aged girls by coaching travel ball and giving private softball lessons. I had a great rapport with these girls and thought that would continue in a high school setting.”
Until she learned about the ARTC program, Reed had never considered teaching. After she was hired as the softball coach at the high school, she reached out to the human resources department at Milford School District to see how she could become a teacher. After learning more about the ARTC process, she thought it sounded like a good plan for her.
“In order to begin this program, you had to already have a bachelor’s degree,” Reed said. “I chose all online classes because I had a demanding schedule with teaching all day, coaching softball and running the weight room. The one exception to the online classes was an in-person seminar that was required at the beginning of the ARTC program. Towards the end of the program, I also was required to complete the edTPA. I don’t think teachers in the ARTC program are required to take this any longer, luckily, because it is tough!”
Time management was one of the challenges that Reed faced going through the ARTC program.
“There isn’t loads of work to do for each class, but there’s work. You can’t let it pile up or your weekends can be miserable. I know this firsthand,” Reed said. “I had been out of an educational setting for three years, so I was out of the “homework grind.” I think getting back into that groove gets harder the longer you have been out of it.”
One thing Reed found helpful was that she worked through ARTC while teaching in the classroom. She felt she had an entire school full of teachers willing to help and she counted on several co-workers and administration to help her understand assignments or provide her with data to complete assignments.
“Someone who takes the traditional path to certification learns what to do in the classroom before they get there,” Reed said. “All of the ideas and methods taught to you are great and have data to back up their effectiveness. When you are learning these teaching and/or classroom management methods while you are working in the classroom, it can be frustrating. Every class and classroom full of students possesses its own culture. The teacher has to be flexible in order to get the most out of each class and student. So, when I was learning the material, I would think “This would never work in my third period.” Even though you’re learning a ton form your own classes, you have to “on-the-fly” learn how to mold those lessons into your own approach for each set of students you work with.”
One thing that someone who takes a traditional path to teaching would likely have a more positive approach to some of the information because they are not simultaneously working in the classroom.
“I have learned so much in the last almost four years being a teacher. Every semester/year, you want to make your curriculum better, whether that is more entertaining, more appealing, more interactive, etc. than the last semester/year so you’re always in an improving mindset,” Reed said. “In addition to learning things through my own research/studying, I continue to learn even more from my students. The questions they come up with on/related to the material allow me to expand my knowledge even more. I am always honest with students when I don’t have an answer to a question, so we research it and enjoy the learning process together.”
There is a financial investment to enter the ARTC program so anyone interested in following that route to certification should make sure they follow it through, Reed explained. She felt that quitting the program might make some frustrated at the money they spent.
“Completing the ARTC program was a relief but definitely something I was proud of,” Reed said. “Just like any other degree program, I will always have my teaching certificate and can take it with me anywhere, like if the South calls me back. If the ARTC program and teaching sounds like something you would like to do but maybe you are hesitant or unsure on the subject you would teach, that is flexible. Once you select your path in ARTC (special education or a specific subject) and take your initial required PRAXIS exam, you can continue to take PRAXIS exams throughout your years of teaching to be qualified to teach other subjects. As someone who enjoys many high school subjects, I have always thought that to be a really cool opportunity.”
For more information about the ARTC program, contact Dr. Jason Peel, Director of Human Resources and School Climate at 302-422-1600, Extension 212 or email [email protected].
Share this Post