Please meet Juliana Gates, First Grade Teacher and Billiken Teacher
Saint Louis University’s School of Education and the Archdiocese of St. Louis have partnered on a unique program for students pursuing graduate degrees in education. Juliana Gates was accepted into the program that allows for faith-driven college graduatse to have a transformative impact on Catholic Schools in the St. Louis area. Meet Ms. Gates.
QWhat attracted you to the Billiken Teacher Corps?
I was attracted to the Billiken Teacher Corps because of the combination of service leadership, advanced education, and personal and spiritual formation that this program provides. Post graduation, I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I knew I wanted to pursue my Masters degree, and this was the perfect combination with additional perks. In addition to a teaching position and Master’s degree, this program allows me to teach in a Catholic school, live with 12 other teachers, and have the support that is so necessary for a first year teacher. Finally, I grew up in Louisville, KY, but frequented St. Louis often to visit family, so I was attracted to SLU and the St. Louis Catholic school system because of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in the area.
QWhere are you from?
I am originally from Louisville, KY.
QWhere did you get your undergraduate degree?
I went to Centre College, a small, liberal arts school in Danville, KY. I was a psychology major and an education minor.
QWhat is your favorite book and why? What are you currently reading?
My favorite book is The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. I have read it multiple times and love the thematic messages. I am currently reading, Teaching like Your Hair is on Fire.
QWhat has been one of your favorite "mission moments" at SLCA?
Although everyday feels like a "mission moment," I think my favorite one is our field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. I was nervous about taking my students on a field trip, but this day reminded me just how much these students mean to me and how much I love this school. From the moment they arrived at school and realized that it was the day for the field trip, they did not stop grinning ear to ear. The bus was parked out in front of the school and my students could not even sit still long enough to hang up their backpacks and take attendance because they were so excited. They stared out the window of our classroom because they thought the bus was going to leave without us. It was a beautiful fall day and I loved seeing my students run around the corn maze, swing on the tire swings, zip down the zip lines, slide down the slides, and enjoy the beauty of the Pumpkin Patch. Each and every day there is some kind of "mission moment" in my classroom as another lightbulb goes off for one student or another in reading or math -- but our field trip to the pumpkin patch was such an incredible day for the class as a whole.
QWhat has it been like to live in community?
Living in community has been so wonderful. Although some days it is hard to live with 12 other people, I love having the additional support system. Although we teach a variety of grade levels, we are all teaching in urban, Catholic schools so we can support each other in the mission. It has been especially helpful to live with teachers who have completed one year of the program. They have been extremely supportive and welcoming, helping me to adjust to not only teaching but also to St. Louis.
QWhat do you want others to know about SLCA?
At its core, St. Louis Catholic Academy is a family. From the moment I began to decorate and set up my classroom this summer, I felt like I was at home. The faculty and staff are so encouraging and welcoming and the students and their parents have been incredible. The students are passionate about learning and life in general. They challenge me each and every day to be a better teacher so that they can be better students. I thank God every day for the opportunity to teach in this school and work with these students. I have learned so much in the short time since school has started.
QWhat do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love to visit family and friends, be outside, and exercise. I played field hockey in college so I love to play and coach sports of any kind.