Spotlight: 10 Questions for Alexis King (CA '17)February 22, 2018
English teacher Alexis King (CA ’17) describes her first year of teaching as a whirlwind, but loads of fun: “I remember thinking that I had definitely chosen the correct job for me.” She received the first Milken Educator Award of the 2017-18 season at Ruben S. Ayala High School in Chino Hills on October 10, 2017.
1. What went through your mind when you heard your name called at your surprise notification?
Alexis King: When Mr. [Lowell] Milken announced my name at the assembly, I was in complete and utter shock. I work with amazing teachers, so when he was speaking, I was thinking of all the worthy recipients at our school. When he said my name, I was totally surprised. The next thought that went through my mind was, “Don't fall down as you come down the bleachers—there are a lot of cameras on you!”
2. How did your students respond to your Milken Award? What impact has it had on them?
Alexis: My students have all been so sweet and supportive. I received a lot of congratulatory hugs and cards from them. A lot of my old students have reached out, which has been really nice. I think it was beneficial for my students to see me in a human moment. I was emotional and excited and I think they appreciated seeing one of their teachers in that light. It also brought a lot of positive press to the school.
3. How did you end up in education?
Alexis: I have been blessed to grow up in a family of teachers. As a little girl I got to see the impact my family (as teachers) had on others, and that message rang powerfully for me. I loved going to my mom’s classroom and listening to her teach and watching the students interact with knowledge and one another. I loved running into ex-students with my grandfather and listening as they told him how much they appreciated him and his class. I loved seeing that through an occupation I could make an impact on the lives of people around me, and this inspired me to become a teacher.
4. Who are your role models as an educator?
Alexis: I have a lot of role models within education. I look up to my mother and grandfather who made great and inspiring careers out of education. I look up to fellow English teachers like Temple Scott who have inspired me within my subject matter. I look up to my fiance, Adam Sjol, who gets students to understand and think in incredibly complex ways while teaching them valuable life lessons.
5. What memories stand out from your first year of teaching?
Alexis: My first year of teaching was definitely a whirlwind but I distinctly remember thinking how much fun I was having. I got to laugh with students while discussing literature. I remember thinking that I had definitely chosen the correct job for me.
6. What are students most likely to remember about their time in your class?
Alexis: I hope my students take from my class the power of the written word. I want them to understand, whether they are the writer or they are reading someone else's writing, that words have power. Beyond the content, I hope they remember how to work effectively with others and that they can make an impact. Of course, I hope they also remember the class as one where they were challenged but had a lot of fun along the way.
7. What’s your biggest challenge in the classroom?
Alexis: Just getting though everything. We have a lot to cover within our curriculum and the time goes very quickly.
8. How do you think you’ll use your $25,000 Award?
Alexis: I am going to use it toward a down payment on a house and my student loan.
9. What would you say to a student who expresses interest in a career in education?
Alexis: I would tell a student who is interested in education to go for it! Every day is different and challenging (in a good way). You will look forward to coming to work. The best parts of the job are the different relationships you can cultivate through this career. The people you meet (students, teachers, community members, etc) are amazing and will change your life.
10. What’s your definition of success?
Alexis: When you feel like you are making an impact in whatever field you have chosen, whilst being happy with where you are.
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