Cara Dees teaches her English IV class. Dees took over for senior English teacher Jim Goode after the holiday break.
Cara Dees teaches her English IV class. Dees took over for senior English teacher Jim Goode after the holiday break.
Samantha Rodden

Taking the Reins

Recent Student Teacher Becomes Full-Time English Teacher

Fresh out of her recent student teaching assignment, her eyes light up as she sees a new opening at the high school where she graduated. She anxiously awaits her first interview. She is ready to come home again.

Cara Dees began teaching English at the high school after the holiday break. She was picked to fill a recent opening in the English department.  Dees started her journey as an aspiring teacher by studying under sophomore English teacher Penny Snow.

“I began my last semester of Clinical Teaching at Lindale in September 2017,” Dees said. “Lindale was my first choice for Clinical Teaching in hopes that I would eventually be able to work at the high school after graduation.”

Majoring in English and minoring in education at UT Tyler, Dees started in the education program,which took her both on and off the campus. She was required to take literature classes alongside other basic education classes.

“There are four phases of the Education Program at UT Tyler that students have to go through in order to graduate and become a teacher,” Dees said. “The first phase is the basic classes, and I had to have eight hours of clinical teaching in order to move on to the second phase. In Phase II, [I took] three education classes and was required to ‘clinical teach’ at a school once a week for four hours until the end of the semester. Phase III was the same thing, just with different classes and at a different location, which was Chapel Hill Middle School for me.”

Her first clinical experience was at John Tyler High School, which she says was a great experience that incentivized her to continue teaching. Dees came to Lindale during Phase IV of the program.

“Phase IV was a much different experience,” Dees said. “I was required to be here five days a week, all day. During Phase IV, [I was] required to take certification exams. One was for content, mine was English 7-12, and the other was the PPR exam which tested my knowledge on the philosophy and theory of teaching.”

Dees says her desire to teach at Lindale stemmed from it being her alma mater. She graduated with the class of 2011.

“When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Dees said. “I changed my major quite a few times, but nothing really captured me until I landed in my first literature class. I also thoroughly enjoy analyzing literature to really understand how purposeful the author [is] in his or her writing. So, when I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, Lindale was at the top of my list. Not only is Lindale highly regarded in East Texas as one of the best school districts, [but] it is a place where I knew I could learn and grow from experienced teachers and work under an administration that values its students and teachers.”

Officially teaching her own class, Dees had the extra burden of beginning mid-year. Her students have offered much support for her already, in spite of the little amount of time she has spent here.

 “Miss Dees has high expectations for the rest of the year and helps continue Mr. Goode’s teachings by influencing us to rise to the challenge,” senior Jessica Grimes said. “Ms. Dees has inspired her classes by beginning the start of each week with motivational videos. I look forward to this new semester with Ms. Dees as my teacher.”

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