Shauna Rachlin is a founding 6th-grade math teacher at YES Prep Southside. Prior to working at Southside, Rachlin served as a Dean of Students and math teacher at YES Prep West. She is a graduate of Gonzaga University, a 2007 Teach for America Houston Corps Member, and a former elementary school teacher.
Amaiya Collier is a 6th-grade student at YES Prep Southside who wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
Ms. Rachlin, why did you decide to teach at YES Prep?
I taught for three years in my TFA placement school, but I wasn’t making the impact I wanted. When I first visited YES Prep, the culture was so different. Kids introduced themselves to me and talked about going to college. I knew it was a community where everyone truly cares for one another.
Amaiya, how did you find out about YES?
My mom wanted me to go to college, so she looked for a school where teachers would be inspirational and found YES Prep. The teachers here motivate us to do good things for the world.
Ms. Rachlin, what have you learned from your students?
I’ve grown up so much in the past five years from working with middle school students. They teach me patience. They teach me what mutual respect means. They teach me to be thorough. They teach me to push when it’s hard. And to laugh at myself.
Amaiya, what do you like most about Ms. Rachlin?
She makes learning fun. She plays the teacher vs. student game with us. When she sees that we’re being off-task, she gets a point. If she sees that we’re following our Giant values like team and advocacy, then we get points.
Ms. Rachlin, why did you select Amaiya to be featured in this post with you?
Amaiya is a student that constantly pushes me to be my best. She’s very smart. I tell her all the time that she’s a leader in my classroom because she helps her classmates out and is willing to learn from her mistakes. That’s how you grow.
Amaiya, where do you see yourself in the future?
I really want to be a teacher. I think I’d like to go to U of H or TSU. We went on a college tour last week, and I liked them a lot.
Ms. Rachlin, what do you hope or dream for your students’ futures?
I hope that they eventually do something they love to do– something that makes them happy and allows them to fulfill their life path.
My YES Prep is where teachers fulfill a commitment to students and their families.
My future is creating future leaders, like Amaiya, in this community.
My YES Prep is full of inspiring teachers who push us to try hard.
My future is becoming a teacher like Ms. Rachlin.