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Becky Dorman ’22MED: ‘I Want to Foster Change in My District and Learn How to Better Support All My Students’

Becky Dorman
Becky Dorman

When Becky Dorman ’22MED, an English teacher at Forbush High School in Yadkin County, started earning her master’s degree through the Yadkin Wolfpack Literacy Partnership, she quickly began to take advantage of the lessons she learned through her coursework. 

During her Theory and Research in Global Learning course with [Assistant Professor] Crystal Chen Lee, she came up with the idea of using the book, A Long Walk to Water, as part of a thematic unit that included a Walk for Water challenge to raise money for clean drinking water in South Sudan.

The events typically involve students carrying jugs of water to both experience what other children go through daily and to raise funds to support clean drinking water, but Dorman wanted to expand the event’s scope for her students. Working with her colleagues Lori Cave, Abby Davis and Jenny Alyn Key, Dorman brought in members of the local community, including representatives from the YMCA to discuss heart rates and calories burned and the owner of the Yadkin Well Company to discuss digging wells in other countries.

“I love giving my students networking opportunities, and I thought this would be a great chance for them to meet people in the community — even people who could potentially be future employers,” Dorman said. 

The Walk for Water challenge was held in February at the Forbush High School gymnasium.

“The event was amazing,” Dorman said. “Though students were only required to walk two laps with empty jugs and two laps with full jugs, many of them chose to walk the entire two miles. Students were engaged with our presenters and really enjoyed being a part of something bigger than themselves.”

In the end, they raised $4,656.89 to build clean water wells for the Iron Giraffe Challenge.

“I hope my students realize how privileged and blessed they are,” Dorman said. “Not only do they have access to clean water, but they also have the opportunity to attend school and get an education. I also hope they learned that they can be advocates for change and they can make a difference in the world.”

Dorman credits the Yadkin Wolfpack Literacy Partnership with providing her opportunities to grow as an educator and collaborate with other teachers in Yadkin County, all in the pursuit of providing meaningful experiences, like the Walk the Water challenge, to students. 

“Sharing this experience with other teachers in the same school system gave us an experience like no other,” Dorman said. “We all face similar challenges and being able to problem solve with them helped produce real results. I’ve learned so much from them and they’ve motivated me to try new things. Their support has been unfailing and I’m so appreciative to have shared this experience with them.”

Learn more about Becky Dorman

Hometown: Yadkinville, North Carolina

Degree: Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, New Literacies and Global Learning – Reading Education

Activities (Research or Extracurricular): I am a part of the County Curriculum Writing Team, a PLT Lead for English II and a part of the MTSS committee at Forbush High School.

Why did you choose the NC State College of Education?

I chose NC State because of the opportunity through the Yadkin Wolfpack Literacy Partnership which was funded by the Mebane Charitable Foundation. Even though the program was intended for K-8 teachers, I applied as a high school teacher and was one of the 20 teachers accepted. I wanted to further my education and increase my passion for teaching. 

Why did you choose your area of study? 

I feel like this area chose me! I always wanted to get my master’s. My husband works at an elementary school in the county, and when he got the email about the Yadkin Wolfpack Literacy Partnership, he forwarded it to me. I looked into it and asked if I could be considered as a high school teacher. When I got the “yes” I was very eager to apply and hopeful I would be chosen. I was excited to continue my education to better myself as a teacher. As I stated in my application, I want to do more than hang a degree in my classroom. I want to foster change in my district and learn how to better support all my students.  

What do you hope to accomplish in your field after graduation?

There’s so much! I currently have a passion for helping our English language learners, specifically our Hispanic population, as they make up the majority of that group in our county. I am constantly seeking ways to help these students and their families feel welcomed, represented and involved. I also have a zeal for giving my students global learning opportunities. It’s important for me that my students realize there is a great big world out there, full of people with diverse backgrounds! We’re from a small, rural area. Helping my students connect the local to the global is beneficial in any learning situation!

What’s your next step? What do you have planned after graduation?

I would love to take on more leadership roles in the county, helping teachers help our students. It’s hard! We’re seeing the effects COVID-19 has had on our students academically, emotionally, and socially. As a teacher, trying to fill these gaps can be overwhelming! I would love to help teachers do small things that can make a difference. 

How has the College of Education prepared you for that next step?

I’ve learned so much, and I am so grateful I’ve had this opportunity. I’m a better teacher because of it. My teaching style has changed since I’ve started the program, and I’m constantly revising lessons to make them better and more effective than before. The courses have given me the information and resources needed to be better and they have also provided me with opportunities to apply what I have learned. [Assistant Teaching Professor] Jill Jones, Assistant Professor Crystal Lee, and [Associate Professor] Dennis Davis specifically have made a huge impact. Through their guidance and their course work, I have made changes to what I teach and how I teach. Honestly, I could never thank them enough for all they have given me. 

Do you have a favorite memory from your time in the College of Education?

I’m not sure if it’s a favorite, but the most memorable moment would be the time I was in labor and still attended the Zoom for class! I did everyone a favor and kept my camera off, but it was actually a welcomed distraction and helped pass the time! 

Tell us about an experience you had with the College of Education that had the biggest impact on you or your career.

Just being given the opportunity to learn throughout this program will forever change the way I think about teaching. It’s also taught me to never stop researching. What I am doing now does not have to be what I do ten years from now. Education evolves and in order to be the best I can be for my students, I need to keep up with what the current research says and never stop learning. 

Why did you choose education?

It’s funny because I vowed I would never be a teacher. But I cannot imagine doing anything else! When I was a freshman at Appalachian State University, I was enrolled in a freshman English class with Dr. Catherine Talley. I’d always loved English class, but something about the way she taught made me want to become a teacher too. 

Teachers have the power to make such an impact on their students — Dr. Talley influenced me to change my major! I wanted to teach high school because I, too, wanted the chance to make a difference in their lives. High school is unique. They are four years away from entering the “real world,” whether that be furthering their education, or entering the workforce. I want to teach my students how to be lifelong learners no matter what path they take. I also want to help instill qualities such as empathy and kindness because quite frankly, the world needs more of that! Being in education means I can do all these things! I’m also a product of Yadkin County Schools, attending K-12. 

During college, I subbed at the local elementary schools. Not only could I not imagine doing anything else, but I couldn’t imagine teaching anywhere else. I’m invested in these students because, like myself, many will grow up and continue to live and work in our county. I want our schools to empower our students to become active community participants. I want our schools to produce lifelong learners, and it’s important as teachers to help raise our students to reach their full potential.