Logan Ellis ’21 is about to complete his first year as a fifth-grade teacher at Shiloh Valley Elementary School in Monroe, North Carolina. Ellis strives to improve students’ lives by being a positive role model and source of encouragement. Learn more about Ellis, his advice to current students and his gratitude for the Cato College of Education.
Describe your typical day as a fifth-grade educator.
A typical day for me involves reading, math and science lessons — teaching both whole classes and small groups. I also utilize one-on-one interventions. All of this occurs while simultaneously ensuring all of my students are safe and feel welcomed, loved and valued.
Aside from teaching, what other duties do you have at the elementary school?
In addition to teaching, I am a member of our school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Team and serve on the Social Media Team and assist the Bus Lot Team.
Why did you choose to go into this field?
I chose a career in teaching so that I could be a positive male role model for young students. I want to change lives while changing my community, and that is all possible in the classroom.
What is your favorite thing about your job as an educator?
My favorite thing about my job as an educator is having the opportunity to change the lives of 28 students every single day.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an educator?
The biggest challenge I face as an educator is continuing to be encouraging, motivating and optimistic — even in trying times.
How can those outside of the classroom help support teachers?
The biggest way the community can support teachers is to trust us, support us and advocate for us.
Do you have a favorite memory from your work experiences?
There was a student who had a history of bad decisions, poor behavior and below grade-level academic skills. I made it my mission to be a turning point for this student — working every day to build a strong, positive relationship with him. We worked together often and celebrated every win, no matter how small. I made sure this student knew he was loved, valued and an important member of our classroom family. Now, this student comes into school with a smile on his face, has very few behavioral incidents and enjoys being an active member of the classroom — showing growth academically, socially and relationally.
What advice would you give to students currently pursuing a degree through the Cato College of Education?
My one piece of advice to all current Cato College students is to really consider why they started down this path. Write it down. Look at it often — especially on the days when you question your profession. Be confident and passionate about why you chose to pursue a career in education and live your WHY to the fullest. You were called to be a teacher for a reason. Stay strong, stay positive and make a difference!
In what ways did UNC Charlotte help prepare you to work in this field? Were there any specific classes, faculty members, trainings, recognition programs, etc. that helped you excel?
The Cato College of Education is truly a phenomenal program. The professors in the college have the heart of a teacher and care for their students academically and personally. They form relationships with their students that continue beyond graduation, and they are never more than a phone call away. Their heart for diversity, equity and inclusion is also empowering. They encourage ALL students to use their voice to support, encourage and empower others.
I would like to call out Dr. Misty Hathcock, Dr. Drew Polly, Dr. Mitch Eisner and Mrs. Debra Diegmann for being absolutely amazing. They never doubted me and always encouraged me to be my best self. I would not be where I am today without their kindness, love, motivation and support.
I would also like to give a shout-out to the Omicron Pi chapter of Kappa Delta Pi at UNC Charlotte. Being a member and officer of this educational honor society provided me with professional development, experiences and opportunities, and friendships that I wouldn’t have had without it.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am so proud to be a teacher. I am proud to stand alongside countless empowering teachers that are helping shape the next generation.