Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Reed

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Teacher Spotlight: Ms. Reed

All her life, Casey Reed day-dreamed and imagined her future to be filled with the adrenaline rush of being watched by a live audience as a professional softball player, but the reality of an insufficient strength hit emerged, and her life took a major turn.

On Monday December 3rd, 2018, the day before Upper School parent-teacher conferences, science teacher, advisor, and coach Casey Reed took the time out of her day to have a conversation with me about how she made one of the most important decisions of her life. She had to find out a career to which she would dedicate her life and it was a long journey before she came to a consensus. She appeared eager to answer this question, and reflect upon it herself, as indicated by her wide and genuine smile. After laughing at science-related memes under the fluorescent lights of the science wing hallway, Ms. Reed led me into the Advanced Placement Psychology classroom to chat with me about her career path.

Reed grew up in Maryland around boisterous and playful neighborhood children, along with two energetic older brothers. Without even knowing, these youngsters influenced her aspiration to become a professional athlete as a young child by testing and pushing her past her physical limits, so that she could grow stronger and more physically adept. From the start and unbeknownst to them, Reed’s neighbors trained her to believe in her physical strength, and in its ability to take her to the big leagues.

Her size and strength meant that her goal of being a professional athlete could not be sustained, yet her lasting adeptness in sports encouraged her to come to school everyday. It regulated her life and even aided her academic success. It was what she looked forward to everyday. So expectedly, she decided she wanted to make it a part of her life forever. However, Reed knew that she would have to be of a certain stature and level to play softball professionally, and unfortunately, genetics were not in her favor in this regard. Reed did not have the proper size and strength to keep up with other highly skilled athletes and to have a realistic chance at pursuing softball professionally.

Granted, fate came through for Reed, as an injury from an eighth grade bike accident pushed her to attempt cross country instead, which she developed fervor for. Both Reed’s mother and father were her teachers, and both specifically warned her not to go into the teaching profession.

Now that Reed is a teacher, when asked if she ever has any doubts about her career choices, she answered that “there are times when it’s a really draining job during the year. Most teachers put 100% of themselves into their school, which leaves very little for your family or your partner, or taking care of chores in life… I think like many people, I once in a while I have a feeling that it would be nice to have a job where you don’t take anything home to work on.” She continued to explain that although teaching can be a difficult job, it’s what she truly loves doing. In her heart, there is a firm belief that what she is doing is important. Seeing the faces of her students every morning meeting reminds Reed that what she is doing is worthwhile. Reed says, “but, in the end it’s what I love. I love this, I love it, and the students I get to work with and see them grow up. I feel it is a meaningful job… I would not be happy with a job that I do not find meaningful.”

Casey Reed is a true sign that Friends Academy is blessed to have the kind of hardworking and motivated staff that it does. Her career advice to students is to look for jobs that they can do everyday that are fulfilling and meaningful, and if they cannot think of any to consider teaching, the most fulfilling thing they will ever do.