Kristen Tellis, a graduating elementary education student at Florida A&M University, wants to help shape children’s lives. Choosing her major, she said, was easy.
“The influence that we could have on the future generation will impact us later on in our lives,” Tellis said. “It only makes sense that I would take my love of children and make it my career.”
Tellis’ love of children and her desire to educate has been present since an early age. Even though she and her twin brother, James, are the youngest of their siblings, Tellis was always babysitting her younger cousins and family friends. It was this love of children that spawned her desire to educate the youth.
“After doing my internships at middle and elementary schools, I know that this is what I want to do with my life. Despite all the challenges and stress, the impact that I could have on the kids is something that I love,” Tellis said.
James Tellis, her twin brother, is in FAMU’s music education program, and he feels the same as his sister. “One thing I will say is that Kristen is driven when it comes to [education]. She’s pushing through everything that she’s gone through with this school to make sure that she can make her dream come true,” he said. “She’s committed to making that dream come true and she’s not gonna stop until she does.”
Following her graduation from FAMU, Tellis plans on teaching first graders at a local elementary school. Eventually, however, she would like to open her own elementary school.
“Getting my own school is the ultimate dream. Like, having my own institution where the future is educated is one of the only things that keeps me going sometimes. Opening a school is my top aspiration,” Tellis said.
Tellis’ inclination for education almost faded during college when she questioned if her chosen major and career path were compatible with her physical and mental capabilities.
Ashely Smith, another graduating senior studying history education, identifies with Tellis’ struggle to keep her ambitions in education alive. “I commend Kristen for having the determination and drive to complete this program after a series of [administrative and curriculum] changes. She really is a lovely young woman and even though I’m going into secondary education and she’s going into primary, I feel that we have a lot in common in terms of our journey through the College of [Education].”
Tellis’ journey through college and her journey to find her true passion has been a long one, but she said that when she was finally able to interact with children in a classroom, any doubts she had about the course of her life were gone.
“I love kids, and I don’t think that there’s anything I could do that would make me as happy as teaching,” she said.