Amanda Clendening has only one regret in her career: having waited too long to become a teacher.

After completing her fourth year as a math teacher to sixth and seventh graders at East Beauregard High School, Clendening’s initial career path was as a paralegal, which she described as “a job very demanding “.

“My eldest was struggling a bit in school and also had a speech delay,” she said. “I knew she was very capable, but she was extremely shy, shy and struggled with spelling and English. Once she was diagnosed with auditory processing disorder, I knew she needed more of my presence in order for her to do well in school.

Proud to be her daughter’s lawyer, Clendening took a job as an accountant at her elementary school for the next four years.

“It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to be in class, so I quit my accounting job and started filling in,” she said.

She said the school administration encouraged her to go back to school to get her teaching degree, so she returned to her alma mater, McNeese State University, after 17 years.

“It’s something I should have done a long time ago,” she admits. “Working in the school system has allowed me to be a parent for my children.”

In addition, she enjoyed being in class and interacting with children.

But it didn’t take long for her to notice that not all children have stable homes or supportive parents.

“I felt I could do more for our students in the classroom than in the office,” she said. “I knew I could make a difference in the lives of some of our students.

She said she keeps the multiple personalities engaged in the classroom by keeping learning fun.

“I want my kids to be comfortable in my classroom and not afraid to show their personality,” she said. “Once a student knows they can be themselves and that you support them, they trust you and are more open to what you are trying to teach.”

Clendening said she was also thrilled to see her junior high students starting to find out who they were.

“The junior high years can be tough, and watching their personalities develop can be both fun and challenging. It’s definitely the most rewarding job I’ve ever had.

“You don’t realize what your smile or your words of encouragement or your tough love means to a student,” she said. “There were times in my room that I forgot, but I love being remembered by former students. They’ll say, “Hey, do you remember when…” or “Your class was my favorite because…” or “I’ll never forget that day in your class when…”. Moments like this remind you that you teach for a reason.

She said the key is to give students a safe and loving atmosphere to be themselves, learn how to be an active member of society and how to treat others.

“The most rewarding thing about teaching is when students or parents come back and say, ‘Thank you for your attention. ”

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