Jason Teague never imagined he would be a third-grade teacher.
In fact, that was the last thing he thought he would end up doing when he graduated with a business degree from East Tennessee State University in 2003.
After several years of working in other fields, including starting up a handyman business with his brother, Teague had his first brush with the rewards of teaching after trying his hand at being a substitute in a fifth-grade classroom.
It was after that job at North Side Elementary when Teague first fell in love with teaching.
While the majority of male teachers work in the secondary level, there was something special about being around younger minds that really spoke to Teague.
“A lot of them don’t have that positive male role model in their life, and they just want somebody to look up to. It’s touching. You get in the classroom and you spend three or four weeks in there and the kids get to know you and they start to depend on you,” he said. “That’s when teaching stops being a career and starts being a new lifestyle.”
A year and half after making the decision to pursue a career in education, Teague now teaches at Mountain View Elementary after completing his master’s in education at Milligan College, where he will graduate tonight.
Teague enrolled in Milligan’s education program in May of 2010. He hit the ground running and worked as an intern at North Side, while still working with his brother.
While the program was certainly intensive, Teague said he knew Milligan was the perfect fit. After having completed the program, he couldn’t imagine having picked a different school.
“There’s not another school I would’ve chosen, given the choice. The type of environment you’re in over there is second to none. The support staff, your professors, the amount of resources that you have, they are constantly driving you and pushing you, and I enjoy that,” he said.
Part of what drives Teague is his passion for working with young children. He said teaching at the elementary level gives him a chance to get to know and understand his students.
It was his desire to work with young children that ultimately led to his landing the job at Mountain View.
After completing the program at Milligan early, Teague applied for an academic tutor position at Mountain View. After being hired for that position, a job as a third-grade math, science and social studies teacher became available.
Teague again applied and was hired shortly thereafter as the new third-grade teacher.
While he’s only been in the position for about a week, Teague said the transition from school to a full-fledged teacher was made easier because of the experience he gained while in the program at Milligan.
“If you had asked me a year and a half ago if I would be at this stage, I would have honestly said ‘no,’ because the market here is flooded with good teachers. I know that eyes are going to be on me to perform, and I don’t plan on doing anything but that,” he said.