Teacher Profile: Yolanda M. McCord

Yolanda Thumbnail

 

Year(s) and Subject(s) Taught
I have been employed at KYUEM for 3 years and I teach English (IELTS and English Literature).

How long have you been teaching?
My teaching career spans over a number of years educating students at the secondary level in different states in the USA including Virginia, Alabama and Georgia. For a few years, I worked as an Instructional Specialist which entailed providing professional development for teachers. Now, I am here in Malaysia, so I have a total of 16 years of teaching experience.

What do you do in your free time?
I really value my free time because I get to catch up on my reading and play tennis, but my favorite activity of all is traveling to different countries and experiencing new cultures.

Why did you become a teacher? Why did you choose teaching as a profession?
I have to be honest and confess that my initial goal was not to become a teacher. I had my heart set on becoming a sports journalist. However, I found it quite difficult as a woman to find internships as a sports caster as it is a predominately male field. I had acquired a lot of English courses as mass communications/journalism was my major, so I had to come up with a plan for a sustainable career. I decided to become an English teacher which I think was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I don’t regret it one bit.

Tell us about your own education journey.
I studied for my undergraduate degree at Florida State University and Augusta State University, and for my graduate degrees, I studied at Troy University and Grand Canyon University, all in the USA.

What is the most memorable moment in your teaching career so far?
My most memorable moment in teaching has to be when I was teaching a group of students in the USA with very mixed ability levels. Some were quite advanced, and some had learning disabilities. In the state of Georgia, one of the components of the exit exam in order to receive a high school diploma is to meet a minimum score in reading comprehension and to be able to effectively write a persuasive essay. The advanced students I knew would perform well, but I really had to work hard with the students with the learning disabilities in order to help them meet the minimum requirements. Teaching in the evening and at night after regular classes and on Saturdays became common place because I wanted to make sure these students received their high school diploma. The day the scores were released, I was elated and so proud of the students because there was a 100% pass rate of all 150 students. To see the happiness and relief on their faces definitely reminded me of why loved being a teacher.

What do you like most about teaching?
What I like most about being a teacher is seeing a student grasp a concept that he/she has worked hard to understand and when they overcome obstacles. I love seeing “the light bulb” come on in their heads. I am a firm believer that being a teacher is more than what happens in a classroom. Being a teacher is helping students become productive members of society and showing them how to be all-around good people. I like hearing from students who I’ve taught in the past. Some are well into their 30’s now, so it gives me a great feeling when they send me pictures of their wives or husbands and their children and tell me they are successful in whatever endeavour they’ve pursued. There are not many things that make me happier.

What is the best thing about teaching at your school?
I would definitely say the students are the best thing about teaching at KYUEM! I have never worked with more respectful and intelligent young people. They are the absolute best, and I guarantee all the teachers feel the exact same way as I do. I feel very blessed and thank Allah for giving me the opportunity to work with such dynamic students.

Who or what inspires you?
My grandmother passed away quite some years ago, but she was and will always be an inspiration to me. My grandmother grew up during the 1930’s and 40’s which was before the Civil Rights Movement in America. She lived through the segregated South and endured Jim Crow laws which were designed to keep people of color from advancing. However, she persevered through a lot of racism and discrimination and completed her secondary and post-secondary education and worked in the operating room at a local hospital until she retired. She will always be my inspiration.

Share this post