Life can be crazy and throw curveballs at us sometimes. How we react to those changes not only helps define who we are but also helps determine the path that we will take. Jayleen Mayes took a few different paths but finally ended up where she has always wanted to be.
“When I was in the fifth grade, I had the best teacher,” she said. “Her name was Carol Anne Cone and I wanted to grow up and be just like her. When I was in high school English classes, I kept thinking if I taught school I would do it this way.”
Mayes went to college to pursue a degree in college went her plans were changed. “I went to college and pursued a degree in English. Then life happened and it took me longer to graduate than anticipated. I had to support my family so my dreams of teaching took a backseat,” recalled Mayes.
“Then a few years ago, I found myself without a job when a friend of mine when a friend of mine, Heather Davis, who is also a teacher, kept pushing me to pursue teaching. So I started bugging the principal to give me a chance. The more I talked about teaching, the more I knew that the classroom is where I was meant to be. Everything I have done in life has prepared me for this. I have never felt the type of belonging at a job that I feel when I’m in my school and classroom. These kids are amazing.”
Mayes, who is in her fourth year at Bartlesville High School, teaches English to sophomores and juniors and she also instructs English Language Learners Life Skills to ninth through twelfth graders. She has two daughters, one of which is a junior in high school and the other is headed to Oklahoma State University in the fall.
There has been a lot of advice given to Mayes, but she says that there is one bit of advice that she really likes and that she always remembers.
“The best advice I was given as a teacher was this,” she said. “At the end of the day, it does not matter if they can do the assignment. What matters is that they know you believe they can and that you will be there to support them and love them again tomorrow.”