Where are they now?: Macie Garrett
Dec. 30, 2010
Andy Ortegon, Texas Media Relations
Two years after graduating from The University of Texas, former swimmer Macie Garrett finds herself far from the pool and her beloved Austin, yet serendipitously back in the classroom.
After graduation, the four year letter winner began a two-year commitment with the Teach for America program. The program offers an academic stipend to members' choice of post graduate studies in exchange for a teaching position at public schools located throughout the United States.
"Honestly, it has been a far greater challenge than I would have imagined, and yet, as a consequence, has become equally one of the most rewarding experiences of my life." Garret said.
Garrett was assigned to Charlotte, North Carolina to teach kindergarten at an elementary school.
"I majored in Sports Management, so teaching wasn't exactly in my background," Garrett said. "All I had was a brief crash course from the Teach for America program and an excellent Teach for America appointed mentor. The rest was up to my own self discovery. What I discovered was I had to find a way to get on the children's level. I had to fully understand their levels of learning and what it is they respond best to."
Over the next year-and-a-half Garrett submersed herself in her teaching and discovered not only how to reach her children but also a true passion for doing so.
"I think the relationship you make with the kids in the classroom, caught me off guard," she said. "I love the children. I cry the last day of school when they leave for summer. You just learn so much about them and their families, watch their successes and ultimately grow attached. I tell so many stories about the kids in my class that my own family knows them each by name."
Specifically, Garrett found her greatest joy in helping children during their most impressionable years grow to become vibrant, young avid readers.
"I really enjoy teaching literacy. They come in and most don't know how to read. It's just so cool to see them to come back in January and then in a sense, turn into people," Garrett said. "It's amazing to see how much they grow. Today we learned the sound that the letter L makes, and by the end of the year they will turn that knowledge around and begin reading short stories."
Garrett attributes her success in the program to her time here at the Forty Acres. It was through the Student Athlete Athletic Council (SAAC) she first discovered the Teach for America program.
"I heard about the program my freshman year at a career fair. I wasn't even supposed to be at the fair, but I helped set up the program through the organization SAAC. Oddly, and fantastically, it led to my discovery of Teach for America, and I just kept them in mind all four years until I neared graduation and applied."
Garrett says her experience at UT was some of the best years in her young adulthood.
"I say I don't miss being exhausted from practice, but then again, it was a lot of fun because you weren't in it alone," Garrett said. "That's the thing I miss most -- my teammates and friends. That was the coolest part of swimming at UT. I had an instant family."