The Transylvania Times -

Local BC Graduate Aims To Teach Locally


June 28, 2018

Courtesy photo

Melissa Ashe poses with her family after walking the stage at Brevard College's graduation. From left to right are Samuel, Melissa, Elora and Jackson.

After taking two years off from substitute teaching to complete her English degree, Melissa Ashe is ready to step back into the teaching field. The 2018 Brevard College graduate is excited to be substituting while waiting for a local high school English teaching position to become available.

Ashe has always been interested in teaching.

"I started with [teaching] the smaller kids and now I like to teach the older ones," Ashe said. "I guess it may have something to do with my age and my kids' ages.

At 42 years old, Ashe has three children: Jackson (20), Samuel (17) and Elora (11).

They are the main reason Ashe wants to stay local and teach within Transylvania County.

Ashe was raised in Lake Toxaway and attended T.C. Henderson Elementary School, as well as Rosman Middle School and Rosman High School.

After graduating high school in 1994, Ashe went to Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) when it was located at the current Davidson River School. She took basic general education classes and early childhood education classes. However, she did not finish at BRCC. She got married and worked at A Child's World as a day care teacher before having her first child, Jackson, in 1998.

It wasn't until 2013 that Ashe returned to college after her daughter, Elora, started the first grade.

"I had a friend of mine who talked me into trying substitute teaching," Ashe said. "I enjoyed subbing so much that I decided I wanted to go back to school so I could be a real teacher."

English was Ashe's best subject in school.

"I like English and I love to read and I think that I could teach it very well because I want to give these kids the best opportunity to have a better life," Ashe said.

Originally, Ashe said with a laugh, "I wanted a math degree, but I never would have made it."

In English, Ashe is looking forward to teaching Shakespeare in a way where the youth can understand the writing and work on their critical thinking skills.

"I want all the students to know that they can all find a book or an author that they would like to read because I feel like our kids are rapidly getting out of reading," she said.

Ashe's first high school substitute teaching experience was with a carpentry class at Rosman.

"I would never have thought that I would want to teach high school. If I hadn't subbed for that age, I would never, ever, have ever dreamed of teaching high school age," Ashe said. "I was terrified the first time ever going in there."

That experience has now become her favorite memory as a substitute teacher.

"I always most enjoyed the welding, drafting, carpentry and agriculture classes," Ashe said. "They were awesome!"

The specialized and honor classes are Ashe's favorite classes in which to substitute.

After graduating in May, Ashe has been debating whether going back to college to complete her teaching degree or to enter the education world with a lateral entry would be her best option.

It takes three years to complete the teacher licensure requirements through lateral entry.

"I think this (lateral entry) is the best route for me," Ashe said, "[considering] my age and I already have some experience.

The decision was made after speaking with Kelly Clark, the human resources assistant with Transylvania County Schools.

"Lateral entry is a good alternate route to teaching for individuals who have a college degree in an applicable subject area, such as English, history or math," Clark said.

"While she [Ashe] has worked closely with the excellent teacher licensure department at Brevard College to complete her degree, her life as a full-time mom and employee prevented her from completing the final requirement of student teaching," Clark said. "With the lateral entry route, employment in an actual teaching position fulfills the student teaching requirement since the individual works with colleagues and a mentor to sharpen their classroom skills."

Clark said that Ashe's education, life experiences and love for the subject area will work in her favor on her journey.

Brevard College did not allow for a lot of free time for Ashe, but she is excited to have the time to get back into substitute teaching.

"I am looking forward to getting back to that because I really like it," Ashe said.

While awaiting a teaching position, Ashe plans to take some time and observe other teachers in their classrooms to pick up tips on how to make lesson plans and how to grab the attention of students.

"This [college] is the hardest thing I have ever done," Ashe said. "I will not lie to anyone; it was not easy. You have to be willing to give up all your free time and hobbies and fun and work your butt off until you get through it."

In the future, Ashe is looking at the possibility of obtaining a master's degree in special education and working individually with students who are struggling in specific areas.

(Welch is a senior at Brevard College.)


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