Name: Keishon Ireland
Company: Plano Independent School District
Title: 5th Grade Teacher
Location: Plano, Texas
Favorite Quote: If at first you don’t succeed, Try, Try Again.
For those who may not know, who are you? What’s your story?
I am a 28-year-old 5th grade teacher. I was born and raised in Rialto, California. Upon graduating from high school in 2008, I moved to Louisiana to attend college at Grambling State University. There, I studied and received my BA in Psychology and pledge Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. After graduating, I began substitute teaching in Ruston, Louisiana from January 2013-June 2013. I moved to Plano in August of 2013 and began my teaching journey at Mitchell Elementary, teaching 5th grade. I have been teaching at Mitchell Elementary for 5 years. While teaching at Mitchell, I simultaneously earned my MS in Psychology and EdD in Education with a specialization in Leadership and Management. I was voted Mitchell Elementary Teacher of the Year, 2018-2019, Plano ISD Teacher of the Year 2018-2019, and Region 10 Elementary Teacher of the Year Finalist, 2019. I love teaching and education. I believe that all students should be able to create the lives that they could be proud of and chase their dreams no matter what challenges they may face.
As a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? If you’re not doing that, what do you think happened?
As a kid, I juggled between a list of careers such as a doctor, a lawyer, a business tycoon, a graphic designer, and a teacher. Ultimately, my senior year of high school, I decided to dedicate my studies to learn psychology so that I can use what I learn to become a great teacher.
What lead you to get into teaching in the STEM field?
I have always had a love for STEM education. I believe that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics are important subject areas and practices that will aid our civilization in advancement. I believe our students should be well-versed in these subject areas in order to lead our country to new discoveries, and to maintain, manage, or improve what has already been discovered.
If an up and coming teacher wanted to follow your footsteps, what was your blueprint to finding success?
When working with children, there is no set blueprint. This is because each child is different, and as the years change so do trends that students follow, influences, opinions, and learning styles. The best advice I could give an up and coming teacher is to utilize one’s own strengths to enhance the teaching of one’s students, talk and learn from peers and professional developments, build relationships and motivate students to have a growth mindset, and most importantly, be yourself. I find that students relate to the realest version of their teachers. That is when some students may walk up to their teacher and say, ‘you remind me of my mom,” or “you remind me of my dad.” Students learn best when they can make a connection and build a relationship; they feel comfortable making a mistake and trust their teacher enough to help them correct it.
As much as we love success stories, can you tell us some of your pain points being in education?
One of the most difficult parts of being a teacher is teaching students the value of education when their home life is not supportive of education or students cannot focus on learning because of having a difficult home life. Often times students state that what we learn in class doesn’t help them in real life. As teachers and adults, we know the benefits of learning these things in class because they will transfer into real life situations, but when you have a student that is worried about eating every night and wearing clean clothes, then learning about a deciduous forest has no direct correlation to that student’s life. So, in that instance, it is almost impossible to get that student to care about science that particular day. Teachers need the support of parents and need for parents to be active in their child’s/ren’s education
We believe the Power of a #COSIGN is real. Can you tell us how a #COSIGN has impacted your career? Whether it’s been through word of mouth? An influencer #COSIGN or celebrity #COSIGN?
AN influencer from COSIGN has shown me that what teachers are doing in the classroom is being noticed and appreciated. Often times as teachers, we do not get recognition for all of the sleepless nights and unpaid overtime. Truthfully, we are ridiculed more than praised. It is said that most beginning teachers do not last more than 5 years in the field because of the pay and lack of respect. COSIGN supports what we as teachers support and COSIGN is helping get the word about STEM education and teachers who are willing to make a positive impact on our youth.
COSIGN Media specializes in increasing a company’s digital presence, can you tell us a few things you did early in your business to market your brand?
I utilized social media to show how science is used and can be seen in everyday life.
If a stranger asked a co-worker or friend about you, what do you think they would say?
They would say that I am always smiling, always working, and always willing to help others. I have heard from my coworkers and friends on many occasions that I am constantly working on something and never without a smile.
Where do you see yourself a year from now?
I see myself producing many science resources that will help students in the classroom, and I see myself developing my own science show (cartoon or live).
Last but not least, who do you #COSIGN and why?
I COSIGN singer/songwriter Kia Renee’ (@Kiareneeallday) because she supports STEM education, and she is also helping me develop science resources rooted in music. I also COSIGN celebrity hair stylist Jay Manuel (@kingjaydastylistt) because he supports STEM education, and wants to team up with me to implement the art and math portion of STEM when measuring and coloring hair. Both artists are showing that education can be used in many careers to accomplish many tasks.