Teacher Feature: Sydney Dow

Teacher Feature: Sydney Dow

Published on May 8, 2023
Sydney Dow, a 4th grade teacher at George Washington Carver Elementary School

Sydney Dow is in her first year teaching fourth grade at George Washington Carver Elementary School. She was already connected to the Carver community, having served as the Assistant Director of the Beacon afterschool program for four years and working at the Boys and Girls Club. Over the pandemic, she went to University of Southern California (USC) to get her teaching credential and came to Carver to teach full time. She talks about being inspired by her students, transitioning from her previous role to teaching, advice for first-year teachers, and what being part of the Carver village means to her.

What inspired you to go for it, get your teaching credential, and become a teacher at this school?

Honestly, it’s this group of kids. When I started here, my first year at Beacon, this group of kids were kindergarteners and there’s always been a culture of literacy, empowerment, and making sure our kids can read, and I fell in love with the idea of teaching kids how to read. I started with these kids and it was a challenge that I was excited to do. They really inspired me to do it as a professional.

What has it been like so far as a full-time teacher?

It’s been an interesting transition. I really do enjoy every day here because it’s something new every day. I did the same thing every day for four years at Beacon. We learn something new and try something new every day in the classroom. We experience new emotions and new thoughts. I really love that invigorating feeling I get from having a new day. It’s been challenging, but what transition isn’t challenging? I’ve worked in one job for four years and I got really good at it. Transitioning into something I’ve never done before and have only done in practice as a student teacher is challenging, but it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done for sure.

What advice do you have for people that want to become teachers and need to go towards that next step?

I think the one thing I can say is just do it. The students and the schools in San Francisco need more people who want to be educators and want to teach our kids. Also, take your time and find a place that feels like home to you. Carver has felt like home to me for a long time and going to work under [Principal] Manning now also feels like a really good place. Go somewhere where you feel like it’s home and you feel like you’re part of the community because that’s going to be what gets you through all the challenges you’re going to face as a first-year teacher.

What’s your favorite part about being part of the school community?

The village mentality is my favorite part. I think I’ve never been in another place where people really have your back. My kids will defend me in almost any situation. When I transitioned from Beacon to this role, they called me Ms. Sydney and now they call me Ms. Dow, and my kids will tell all the other kids “No, her name is Ms. Dow now!” Having a community that stands up for you and really has your back has been the best part of being part of the village.

This page was last updated on May 8, 2023