Xaviera Thurman and Her Role as a MSE@Brentwood Teacher

Story by cnmAdmin2030 / March 18, 2020

“I hope my students know they can truly do whatever they put their mind to. I truly believe in them and I hope they can surpass my faith in them and let the world know how brilliant and bright they are.”

Born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, Xaviera Thurman attended North Carolina Central where she initially majored in Hospitality and Tourism. Luckily for Meeting Street Schools, Xaviera soon realized her true calling as a teacher after serving as a leader in her sorority. “It was the satisfaction of helping others,” she explained. Now, Xaviera is completing her 3rd year at Meeting Street Elementary @ Brentwood where she currently teaches 4th grade.

You can read more about Xaviera and her role as a teacher at MSS in the interview below!

How does MSS prepare you for success differently than other schools you’ve previously worked with?

Being in a classroom with another teacher definitely helped prepare me. It was like student teaching all over again. I had the best teacher, Sarah Torres. She led by example and I learned so much from her. I still implement things I learned from her while I am teaching.

As a teacher, how is your role different from the teaching fellow role?

It’s different depending on who the teacher is and the nature of the relationship with your fellow. My current fellow is confident, driven, and wants to learn. No one can tell who the lead is in the classroom. I feel there is no difference. We recognize where our strengths are and go from there.

What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?

Being organized. Not just in school, but in life. You have to have a balance and make sure your cup isn’t empty. You have to take care of yourself. You would think it would be easier having two teachers, but it can be hard to make sure we are communicating everything. You don’t want to get too far behind.

Being able to build relationships and talk to anyone is also very important in this role. You’ll be communicating with parents, family members, etc. You also have to make sure you’re building strong relationships with your students.

Tell me about the parts of your role that you find most challenging.

Organizing your time and efforts, as well as staying on top of things. It’s still a work in progress for me. There are certain goals we have for our students to meet and as teachers, we have to figure out what “holes” we need to fill. It can get frustrating because we want to see our students meet the goals. We just have to keep trying until we figure it out.

Tell me about the parts of your role that you find most enjoyable.

The camaraderie of my coworkers. We have the same ideals, goals, and have created strong friendships with one another. One of my coworkers was in the room when I was delivering my baby. The parents of my students are great too. I’ve had parents babysit my kids. It’s truly like a family.

As an educator, what would you tell people who are unsure if they want to pursue a career as a teacher?

I’m not sure. For me, this is the job. You don’t really know until you try. I never would have imagined that I would be where I am now, but you have to find what works for you, makes you happy, and gives you peace. It’s not for everyone, but you have to learn as you go if it’s for you or not.

What educational or professional preparation would you recommend for someone who wants to advance in the profession?

Racial Equity Institute. It’s amazing and opened my eyes. Even as an African American, I didn’t know things that went on in homes of poverty. The training helped me be empathetic and find ways to relate to all my students.

What is something you hope to teach each and every student that walks into your classroom?

They can truly do whatever they put their mind to. I truly believe in them and I hope they can surpass my faith in them and let the world know how brilliant and bright they are. I want them to know they are good enough. They can be whoever they want, as long as they put their mind to it. I hope I can impact them in that way.

How can candidates best prepare for Interview Day? What’s your main piece of advice?

Try to find ways to have fun. I didn’t make it through my 20-minute lesson. You can’t stress over that. Just be flexible and know you won’t get through your lessons in everyday life.

What is the most impactful thing a student has ever said to you?

It was 2 years ago and we were getting ready for a performance. I had a student, Zaelyn, who said to “pretend everyone in your audience is a pineapple.” It’s silly but sticks with me to this day.

 

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About Meeting Street Schools

Meeting Street Schools (MSS) is an innovative non-profit where schools, families, and the community collaborate to create environments where all children can achieve their full potential. With a network of schools across South Carolina, including MSA-Charleston (Charleston, SC), MSA-Spartanburg (Spartanburg, SC), MS-Brentwood (North Charleston, SC), MS-Burns (North Charleston, SC), and MS-Jasper & Beaufort (Jasper, SC), we are committed to providing students with the rigorous education they deserve.

Founded on the principle that every child deserves an excellent education regardless of their socio-economic background, Meeting Street Schools has been a beacon of hope and a testament to what's possible in education. Our schools are driven by a strong focus on student achievement, evidence-based instruction, and relentless support of our students and their families.

While united by our shared mission, each MSS campus, is unique in its character, tapping into the local spirit of the communities they serve. Explore each of our schools and discover how they're creating a brighter future for students in South Carolina.

News & NotesFrom Clemson University to Master Teacher and Player Coach: Emily Godwin

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Our Schools

MSA – CharlestonDowntown Charleston, SC - Independent School - Since 2008 - 364 Students

Nestled in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, MSA Charleston is more than just a school—it’s a hub for innovative learning and community engagement. As part of the Meeting Street Schools network, MSA Charleston embodies a commitment to excellence through its rigorous academic programs, inclusive culture, and focus on developing the whole child. With a curriculum that emphasizes both academic and personal growth, MSA Charleston prepares students to be curious learners and active citizens of their community.

MSA – SpartanburgDowntown Spartanburg, SC - Public School - Since 2012 - 323 Students

MSA Spartanburg stands as a pillar of educational innovation in the Spartanburg community. The school’s dedicated educators and supportive learning environment ensure that each child receives a high-quality, personalized education with exceptional faculty and teachers. MSA Spartanburg is distinguished by its emphasis on community partnership, fostering relationships that extend beyond the classroom to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and success.

MS – BrentwoodNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2014 - 694 Students

MS Brentwood is a place where education meets opportunity. Serving the Brentwood area, this school is a testament to the transformative power of education. With a student-centered approach that celebrates diversity and encourages excellence, MS Brentwood is dedicated to equipping students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. MS Brentwood also serves as a hub for the Brentwood community to access educational and wellness services. The school’s commitment to innovation, coupled with a warm, welcoming environment, makes it a standout in the MSS network.

MS – BurnsNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2018 - 478 Students

Located in a community rich with history and culture, MS Burns is renowned for its dynamic educational approach that intertwines traditional learning with modern teaching techniques. The school’s focus on experiential learning ensures that students at MS Burns are not only recipients of knowledge but also active participants in their educational journey. MS Burns exists to spark an educational revolution for the students and families in the Dorchester-Waylyn Neighborhood in North Charleston. With a commitment to creating a supportive and challenging academic environment, MS Burns is forging a new path in public education.

MS – Jasper & BeaufortJasper County, SC - Public Charter School - Fall 2023 -

MS Jasper represents the Meeting Street Schools’ dedication to community-based education with a global perspective. The school provides a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to explore their potential and cultivate a love for learning. With its diverse programs such as Eureka Math, and Wit and Wisdom, MS Jasper puts a major emphasis on character development, specialized learning and equips students to become thoughtful, engaged members of society, reflecting the MSS ethos of empowerment through education.

CommunityVoices

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“We come into work everyday truly believing that our students are capable of achieving anything that is put in front of them. Here at MSS, students are provided the opportunity to achieve success through the facilitation of well-educated teachers, resources, and a responsive classroom school environment.”

— NikToshia GilesTeacher

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“MSA is a family. Once you’re in, you’re in. They said they would follow our kids from K-3 to college and they actually lived up to what they said they would do. Not only did MSA challenge my daughter academically but it also exposed her to new things that she probably wouldn’t have been exposed to at our previous neighborhood school. Our journey at MSA was exciting and rewarding. They actually walk the walk.”

— Tyeka GrantParent

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“Meeting Street Academy is my family. They taught me that I am valuable. I am an asset to the world…They asked me, ‘What is your dream?’ I had never been asked that before. The MSS community gives me the strength to pursue my dreams.”

— Kadelyn SteedStudent