State of Our Schools – Art program plants seed

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Eileen Bailey reached her 40th birthday and it was time to do some thinking.
She’d wanted to be a journalist since childhood. That dream took her to the University of Mississippi, then to the Daily Journal, where she covered education for eight years.
Later, she worked with the Girl Scouts and learned how rewarding it can be to interact with young people.
“I wrote an arts grant and we got it. I was working with middle school and high school kids,” the 48-year-old Tupelo resident said. “That one-on-one contact with kids put the seed in my head.”
She took the Praxis I, a test for general math, writing and language knowledge, and decided to take the Praxis II for social studies because history has always been a fascination.
“My grandmother, it’s her fault,” Bailey said. “She was big in genealogy and family history. She would go on and on about the past.”
She went through the Teach Mississippi Institute for classes in teaching strategy, classroom management and more.
In addition to classes, she needed 40 hours of observation time. During her first year of teaching, she took Saturday workshops and had a mentor teacher.
“I was blessed to have a great mentor,” Bailey said. “Of course, I had panic moments, but always could go to her and she’d help.”
Bailey is in her seventh year as a history teacher at Tupelo Middle School, and her second year teaching seventh-grade students.
“I have to remember these are kids. Some are mature for their age and some still want to be just kids,” she said. “I have to hope I’m making a difference.”