In room C203, English teacher Carly McCrae’s desk sits in a decorated corner, with filled bookshelves and gifts from students. Among these sits a triangular glass object on a black pedestal.
On it reads: “Carly McCrae, Wando High School Rookie Teacher of the Year.” And the trophy commemorates just that — McCrae being the rookie teacher at her alma mater, Wando High School.
English, however, was not where her interest in the profession began.
“I knew I wanted to be a teacher in high school. I was thinking about music education for a while, but decided it was better left to those maybe a little more talented than I was,” McCrae said. “And I’ve always loved English, so I went ahead and applied for Clemson. I got in secondary education as my major and I’ve had zero regrets.”
The interaction with the students and of course the love for the content is what really brings to McCrae a love for her job. The old saying comes to mind: find a job you truly love and never work a day in your life.
“I love my content, that’s for sure,” McCrae said. “I love being able to teach Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, all the classic stuff I’m really interested in.
“But I think most of all I love the relationships that I get to make with my students, and seeing their faces everyday whether they’re having a good day or a bad day,” she said, adding “I like being able to talk to them about that, and I pride myself on the rapport that I have with my students.”
With a first year of a new job — a new experience — comes new struggles McCrae was faced with. Individuality seemed to be one of the hurdles she managed to jump over at her first year of teaching.
“I think the biggest struggle is just kinda finding your footing in a place so big and being able to be your own person when there’s 252 other teachers out there who have things that they want to tell you, they always have advice, things that they think you should do and shouldn’t do, and I always take that to heart,” McCrae said. “I think it’s been a challenge figuring out who I am as a teacher and not who other people think I should be.”
McCrae said her relationship with her students helped her be selected for the award.
“That level of interaction I have with my students, not to toot my own horn, but I really think they love me they do!” McCrae said. “I try to be creative with my lessons, which is something I think a lot of first year teachers are scared to do.
“I think my colleagues are a very big part of why I got chosen for this because they say nothing but good things about me,” she added. “They are on my side, they have my back all the time, and they are amazing people to work with.”
McCrae said she felt euphoric on the day she received the award.
“Mr. [Todd] Kaplan called me… one morning and said ‘When you get a chance can you come down to my office’ … He said it’s not bad… so planning rolls around and I went down there and