By Tori Dugar – Director of Student Support, YES Prep White Oak
This will be year 30 for me. I can always tell because my son is 30 and I started teaching the year he was born. I’ve taught every elementary school grade, and most of those 15 years were in upper elementary school years. In 2005, I founded a KIPP school here in Houston and I’ve been working with charter schools ever since.
I have done a lot of work with turnaround schools but was tired of moving around, and I knew I was missing something -working directly with children. I missed directly seeing the positive impact our line of work has on kids plus, I enjoy developing teachers. I was trying to find something I could do that would enable me to get that joy back in my life. My son, who also works for YES, told me about this position and I am here today.
WHY I BECAME A TEACHER
I had it pretty tough growing up. Both of my parents were incarcerated and I pretty much had to take care of myself and my siblings at a very young age. I was angry and had a difficult attitude. But the elementary school I went to worked with me and the principal was amazing. By third grade, I knew I wanted to do what these people had done for me. I knew I wanted to teach.
I’ve always chosen to work in the inner city, in schools located in tough areas of town. I’ve worked to improve relationships between school staff and students and help educators deepen their connection with underserved kids. The students I have worked with have experienced a lot of the same experiences I had. I feel that the things I went through prepared me to help others overcome their situations.
For this reason, I think I’m probably one of the few people who actually get to live out their passion every single day and make a fulfilling career out of it at the same time.
WHY TEACH AT YES
Habits are hard to break. Once you get into the habit or learn to do something incorrectly it’s hard to go back and correct it. I’ve been doing this long enough to speak from experience as opposed to opinion and, in my experience, YES Prep is preparing teachers to be great right out the gate. It doesn’t always feel good. I won’t sit here and say it is going to be easy. I’m not going to sugarcoat it and say, “Just come on over to YES Prep and you are going to be a great teacher in no time”. You WILL be a great teacher if you do everything that’s in place, but in the world of teaching there’s not a lot of schools or school districts that are doing on the front end what YES Prep is doing.
At YES Prep, every school has Deans of Instruction, Directors of Instruction, Deans of Students, Directors of Students, and so on. We have all these people that actually know what they are doing to support teachers, not to mention the support they get in the curriculum development and lesson planning. It’s just amazing what YES Prep offers to teachers and I think it’s underrated.
There’s no easy way to become a great teacher. You just have to get there and do it. But YES Prep definitely gives you the tools to make that happen. If you have the tenacity, the will, the want, and the desire to be a great teacher, this is a great place to start and stay.
VISIT YES PREP TO MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT FIT
In my experience, for a new person coming into the organization, it doesn’t get any better than this! I don’t think there’s a teacher, including myself, that was just perfect out of the gate. If you come and work for YES Prep and you start your development here, the time it takes you to become a great teacher is a lot shorter than it would be elsewhere. I’ve worked with and consulted a lot of organizations and this by far is the number one. Don’t just take my word for it. Come and see us to learn more about YES and how this organization could be a great fit for you.
About the Author
Tori Dugar joined YES Prep in July 2018 and is the Director of Student Support (DSS) at White Oak. As DSS, Dugar is in charge of making sure the student culture is at its best and student management issues. Prior to YES, Dugar worked for KIPP Houston Schools and the Texas Education Agency. She is a graduate of the University of Houston and received her masters from Texas Southern University. Dugar is the proud mother of four, with her eldest child being the Director of Student Support at YES North Forest, Bryce Moore. She enjoys spending her time off with family and friends.
ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR
YES Prep is currently hiring teachers for the 2019-2020 School Year. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of working for YES, click here.