The journey to become a teacher

Finding my purpose

It has been a long journey for me. When I got out of high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, so I chose to attend a community college. I eventually dropped out and spent time finding who I was and what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.I was working 2 jobs and became a youth minister. Through youth ministry, I found my love for interacting with children and my true passion for teaching.

The prize that changed everything

In 2013, I won a 2012 Ford Mustang. I had just lost my car through a blown engine while I was working 3 jobs and living on my own. This blessing from God enabled me to go to college and start focusing on my future; it was all a part of his plan.

I sacrificed a lot and took a leap of faith to come to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; spending my first two years playing football and working on my undergraduate classes. My junior year, I married my beautiful wife Kendra and focused hard on my education classes.

Throughout college, my professors have really prepared me to teach. Through introducing different strategies, laws, classroom management techniques, and professionalism in the school system; they have given me the tools to succeed as a teacher.

Student Teaching

Everything that happened in my life led up to student teaching at Lake Belton Middle School with Mr. Marx; God definitely placed me in that classroom with him. I have learned many things from him, but maybe the most impactful would be how to build strong relationships with my students and great classroom management through setting high expectations and being firm, fair, and consistent. What I really enjoyed was Marx’s different ways of teaching and the importance of doing much more than just showing PowerPoints every day. By getting students active and engaged, their learning is deeper and more fun!

Lessons Learned from Middle Schoolers

At first, I was very unsure about teaching middle school, but it turned out to be a wonderful time. I learned that even through the tough days a student will make you laugh, and the good will always outweigh the bad.

The satisfaction of seeing the students grow and enjoy being taught reminds me why this is the career path for me. Even though school may not be the cool thing for teenagers, you can tell that they really have a desire to learn and want to connect with their teachers.

Shaping Young Lives

We teach our students content and help them grow in knowledge, but I believe that we should also teach them life skills: the power of positive thinking, that you can accomplish your goals, to never give up, that the bad days will come but you have to keep fighting, the importance of teamwork, accountability, and good work ethic. The connections that we make with our students will last a lifetime.

A favorite quote of mine is from one of my favorite coaches in the NFL, Tony Dungy. He is a devout Christian and a Super Bowl-winning coach.

“You should never be defined by what you do or by the things you have; you’ve got to define yourself by who you are, who you impact, and how you impact people.”

Are you called to teach? The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has outstanding programs in Education from the College of Education, offering undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Cody Spence

Cody Spence

Cody is a 2018 graduate of UMHB. He is now a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Union Grove Middle School in Harker Heights.
Cody Spence

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Cody Spence

About Cody Spence

Cody is a 2018 graduate of UMHB. He is now a seventh and eighth grade teacher at Union Grove Middle School in Harker Heights.