Tayla Woods

Tayla Woods is a current student in the Ecampus Masters of Education program, and previously graduated with a Double Degree in Education and Psychology.  In addition to her academics, for the past two years she has been team captain for the Oregon State University Volleyball team.

What attracted you to these College of Education programs? 

I really liked the options of the Education Double Degree because sometimes when you start college you don’t know what you are going to do and that’s how I was.  I wanted to find a way to help people, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like in a career setting.  I liked the double degree because it gave me lots of options; you can do so much with that. Being able to teach after the program is such a great opportunity because it opens up your options even more.

With the Masters of Education program I really like the online aspect, because it allows a lot of flexibility with what you want to do in your life.  I’m at a transitioning point now that volleyball is over and with an opportunity in Texas, and the online format allows me to learn and grow as a teacher with the flexibility to be anywhere.

What is your educational background?

I graduated from Santiam Christian High School, just outside of Corvallis.  After that I came to Oregon State and worked on a double degree in psychology and education.  I did some student teaching while doing the double degree and now I’m working on my Masters of Education.

What is your athletics background?

In High School, I really enjoyed playing volleyball and basketball.  They allowed me to make close friendships and learn lots of new things.  I was offered a scholarship at Oregon State University to play volleyball and accepted it.  Since being with Oregon State as a student I’ve also been an athlete.

I redshirted my first year, which means I practiced with the team but I wasn’t playing in games, and then the next four years I played.  The last two years I’ve been captain of the volleyball team and starting setter.  Being an athlete while in college teaches life lessons that continue to help me as I move forward into real life.

How did you get interested in this field of study?

My family has deep ties in education.  My Dad’s been both a teacher and principal at various different schools.  My grannie was a principal down in Texas and a teacher as well.  Growing up I’ve always been around educational settings, and like the interaction between kids and the ability to help them reach their potential no matter what the subject is or area of study.

My emphasis on social studies goes hand in hand with that, because it’s all about people - wither it’s history, political science, psychology, they are studying people.  I really liked how my love of people, and helping people, could be translated into an area of study.

What do you enjoy or find most beneficial about these programs? 

I could tell all of the instructors love what they do, and that they really care for their students.   The lessons I learned in classes were important, and the instructors were there to help me.  The biggest lesson has come from seeing how I can influence people’s lives, as my instructors did for me.  It is amazing to see people who have done this longer than me still have that passion to help people, willing to go above and beyond, especially as a student athlete with demands outside of classes.  These instructors are the greatest lesson of all, as their desire to see me succeed brought out a passion in me to work harder in my classes – what I want to provide my students.

Do you have any advice for students?

If you are considering teaching, make sure that it’s what you want to do.  Make sure that you are willing to put in the extra hours and the extra time to be a great teacher, because students can tell if you want to be there.  Student teaching is a great way to get a better idea of what teaching is, and what it involves.  Look for opportunities to have classroom experiences early, to help you figure out if you can be a great teacher.

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Georgia, my family moved to Texas, and eventually we moved to Oregon.  We moved around a lot, which was hard but I have a great family and had great support to help me through all those transitions of life.  The future can seem scary, even for me as I move back to Texas, but I have support to help me through this next transition in life.  I’m looking forward to being a teacher so I can help my students through their transitional periods, as I’ve had so many people help me through mine.

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 Thank you to OSU Athletics for the use of their photography.