EU Alumni Perspective: Tammy Rhodes
Name: Tammy Rhodes
Graduation Year: Fall 1994
Major: Psychology and Social Sciences
Current Position: Cross Categorical Special Education Teacher at Hillcrest High School
City and State: Springfield, Missouri
Tell us about your career and what you do now.
I have been a cross categorical special education teacher for 25 years. Throughout my career as a teacher, I have obtained a Master’s Degree in Middle school Education from Drury University and an EdD in Instructional Leadership through Lindenwood University. I have taught at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels where I have worked with students with multiple disabilities including learning, behavioral, and cognitive disabilities. Currently, I am working at Hillcrest High School as a cross categorical teacher, and I teach math to students with various disabilities. In this position, I work hard to make personal connections with my students while teaching life skills along with basic math skills.
What is your favorite memory from Evangel?
My favorite memory was definitely the faculty. At the age of 18 I took a Greyhound bus to Springfield, Missouri from Ohio and did not know anyone in Springfield or at Evangel. With very little money and no support system, the faculty became my support system by being very approachable. The faculty provided guidance and resources that not only helped my confidence, but it also motivated me to continue my education at Evangel and perform well.
How did Evangel help you identify/develop your calling?
The faculty was great at helping me to discover my gifts and abilities, which helped to guide me into my chosen career path. Professors like Dr. Grant Jones taught in a manner that encouraged students to think about some of life’s tough decisions, questions, and dilemmas, which developed Godly character and placed me on a path to determine what career I wanted to pursue. Through classes like Essential Christianity with Dwight Colbaugh, students, including myself, learned the truths the Bible considers to be essential to a Christian’s life. We were taught to embrace these truths and to use them to guide our life decisions as we enter into the workforce and begin our careers.
How did your experience at Evangel prepare you for life after graduation?
My education at Evangel provided the tools I needed to mentor, educate, and develop students of all ages. I not only acquired communication skills, including listening and speaking skills, but I also obtained management and organization skills, which have given me the ability to manage my classroom and prepare engaging lessons. In addition, during my time at EU, I learned to adapt to changing situations, and I learned the importance of empathy. With these skills, I am able to encourage and support my students while developing their emotional well-being.
What advice would you give a current student preparing for the workforce?
God designed each individual uniquely; therefore, you must be open to hearing from God in what he has called you to do. As you prepare for the workforce, pray for wisdom and direction. Every step should be a spiritual journey where God is at the center. Consider God your boss and work diligently and with integrity while always keeping a servant’s attitude, trusting God to be your guiding light.
What would you look for if you were in a position to hire new graduates from Evangel?
I would look for a person with a servant’s heart who has a strong sense of mission. The classroom is the mission field, and the individual should be focused on how they can connect with students and change their lives. The individual should also want to pursue excellence, be humble, and be real.