Meet the graduate: Dakota Walker

Dakota Walker
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dakota Walker grew up in North Carolina’s Kings Mountain area. As a member of the Class of 2022, she will complete a Bachelor of Science in Special Education from the University's Cato College of Education. Starting this fall, she will be teaching in an exceptional children's resource room at Kings Mountain Intermediate School.

What made you want to be a teacher?  Are there any particular life experiences that contributed to your wanting to be a teacher?
I wanted to become a teacher because I grew up always loving school and when I realized it was something that I could do, I wanted to pursue that. I also fell in love with working in a resource room and with special education through my high school experience with service projects and my clinical placements freshman year of college.

What is it you want to accomplish as a teacher?
I want to be able to give back to students from my local community who are in special education. I want to be there as an advocate and a resource for students in the area that gave so much to me. 

What has your experience teaching been like?
My experience as a student teacher so far has been a great but a huge learning experience. I have been able to learn from my clinical educators but also take risks and begin to figure out my own way within a classroom setting that fits my style along with my kids’ needs.

How has your education at UNC Charlotte shaped and/or facilitated your knowledge and experience of teaching?
UNC Charlotte has shaped my knowledge and experience of teaching by preparing me for the classroom in ways that are applicable to our changing society but also up to date with the latest research that provides the best learning for kids.

What are your plans upon graduating?
Upon graduating, I will be teaching near my hometown, and my biggest hope is that I am able to give back to the students in the community that gave so much to me and shaped me into the person I am today. I want to be a support system for all students to help show them that they can achieve anything.

What overarching philosophies inform your specific journey in teaching?
I think an overarching theory that has influenced my teaching would be the idea that being intentional with my actions and words (like using modeling in social cognitive theory) will help to influence my students to be intentional about their words and actions. We make choices every day and by making these choices whether it be academic or social, these affect us and those around us and I want to instill this idea within my students so that they are learning how to be a good student but also a good citizen.

Inside UNC Charlotte is featuring members of the Class of 2022 as part of its coverage of Spring Commencement. Read more about these graduates:
Kendall Britton, Lee College of Engineering
Noah Hansil, School of Data Science
Skyler Parrow-Strong, College of Arts + Architecture
Ayushi Patel, College of Computing and Informatics
Priya Patel, College of Health and Human Services
Marice Raynor, Belk College of Business
Kaela Williams, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences