Xylia Capote attended Union College until Spring 2017, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She grew up in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, and now lives in Abilene, Texas working as the Head Teacher at the Abilene Junior Academy. She took a trip to Argentina in 2011 in order to learn about their English as a Second Language program.
Melissa Ratter: What is your favorite memory from Union College?
Xylia Capote: It would have to be teaching art at Skyview Learning Academy. Close to the end of the year, I had the kids make totem poles and a couple of my students had some Native American in their blood. It was great seeing them connect with the lesson and making it their own.
MR: What was your experience like getting a job after you graduated?
XC: Finding a job wasn't too bad. I knew by February where I was going. I attribute that to three factors: seeking experience, having an open mind, and taking advantage of the resources Union has.
MR: What were the types of resources you used at Union to help you find a job?
XC: I don't know about the other departments but the education department gives its students opportunities to meet potential employers all throughout their time at Union, and by senior year you could be on a first name basis with your next boss through the pizza feed and other events such as this. Another opportunity that every Union student is the Career Center. Teresa helped me a lot with my cover letter and resume.
MR: What do you think you did differently than others in order to land a job?
XC: Having an open mind really helped me get my job. A lot of my classmates were looking for a specific grade or location to find a job which limits your options. I wasn't tied to either a grade or a location and that landed me a teaching job in a one-room school in the heart of Texas. Yes, I'm the only teacher and it can be overwhelming but I love it! This is something I would never have found if I weren't willing to look into unknown territory.
MR: What’s your advice for graduating seniors?
XC: Being proactive is a tremendous benefit. It not only helps you learn but it often leaves a positive impression. Once you leave a good impression you have found a new person you can add to your reference list. Most of my jobs and volunteer experiences from high school and college were things that could apply to elementary education or at least get me into contact with other teachers that I could learn from. Not everyone can task force, working the children's department of a church or teach a class one a week, but there is something out there to help you get your foot in the door.
Melissa Ratter is a senior studying language arts education.