News & Stories

Josh Woodard
August 27, 2020

Fulfilling great expectations as a kindergarten teacher

When Josh Woodard ’20 accepted Berry’s Gate of Opportunity Scholarship, a world of new possibilities opened up to him. As a Gate Scholar, Josh gained valuable experience working year-round for the college while building professional skills and leadership. He likens his experience to that of the character Pip in the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations. Coming to Berry with a passion for teaching, Josh used this unique opportunity to study early childhood education, fulfilling his own great expectations.

Ever since his grandmother used coloring books to teach him how to read, educators have been Josh’s inspiration. However, it wasn’t until high school that he recognized his calling to pursue a teaching degree. Just as his grandmother showed him the fun in learning, Josh hopes to do the same for his future students. “I want to give kids an experience that makes them want to learn because a lot of kids don’t have that experience,” Josh says.

Like Pip, Josh was given a financial opportunity that would help him achieve his academic goals and evolve as a person. During Josh’s time at Berry, he worked as a head resident assistant, vice president of the Berry rowing team and ambassador for the Gate of Opportunity Scholarship. Josh says, “Without the assistance of my donors, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities as I do now or get the job I wanted.”

Having accumulated over 700 student contact hours through Berry’s teacher education training, Josh is confident in his classroom abilities both in-person and online. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he learned how to teach virtually during his final months of college, expanding his abilities as a teacher. Josh says that Berry’s education department provides more than enough teaching experience and cultivates a positive environment for student teachers.

Josh teaches kindergarten at Anna K. Davie Elementary School in Rome, Georgia. Positively influenced by his teachers, he hopes to have a similar impact on children beginning their education. And he is bringing his own teaching flair to the classroom: “I’m a little more theatrical when I teach. When I’m excited, they’re excited. They’re so hungry to learn!”

Mary Banks Shelander (junior)

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