Alumna educates the next generation

Within weeks of graduating Aug. 1, Catera McCloud started teaching s econd-graders in Houston. Photo courtesy McCloud

In early August, FAMU celebrated — virtually, or course — as yet another graduate with a calling to shape the hearts and minds of the next generation.

Catera McCloud, a summer 2020 graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, recently started her position with Teach for America, teaching second grade in Houston. 

She received her bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies with an area of emphasis in education and social service. 

She is always herself, 100%, very honest,” said Ceriese Blue, Teach for America’s recruitment manager. “Those are the kind of people that we want in front of our kids, especially in Teach for America. Especially with her working with kids, we want people who are going to show up as themselves every day, even when it’s hard.”

The first day of school brings images of being walked to the bus stop, catching up with friends in the hallways to talk about summer vacation and waiting in line at the cafeteria for lunch. With the world’s new normal, these thoughts are of the past.  

On Aug. 19, nearly half a million children in the greater Houston school districts started the school year. Most of the students were welcomed virtually, including McCloud’s second grade class. 

“My first day was rocky as a new teacher. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how my students would react to me,” she said. “It ended up going better than I thought. My students were, and still are, very engaged despite being virtual.”

Globally, over 1.2 million children are out of the classroom due to the impact COVID-19 continues to have on the education system. 

As a new educator, she will continue to offer her students an education that would lead to outstanding academic performance.

By the end of the school year, he goal is to have all her students reading at a second grade level. 

McCloud often revisits the memories at FAMU that helped build her into the person she is today. She has  evolved  into a young professional who is perfectly capable of fulfilling this role. Becoming a teacher has always been a dream and she is determined to fulfill her dream despite this pandemic.