The Voice of Wakefield High School


TAYLOR RATCLIFFE, Founding Principles USA & NC Civic Literacy


Q: What do you teach?

A: Civics

Q: What made you want to teach civics?

A: I came into Wakefield High School, and we weren’t necessarily sure what subject I would go into. I landed in civics which I’m very happy about because it teaches students how to become active citizens and the importance of voting, and going out and participating in the government. I’ve seen that especially with our generation all the movements that have been going on. I’m very glad to be teaching civics this year because I get to join in too with all this excitement and seeing how great our generation is at changing the world. 

Q: Is this your first year teaching?

A: Yes it is. 

Q: What were you doing this time last year?

A: Covid was still in existence. I was student teaching, so it’s basically like a teacher but I was still learning. I’m from Connecticut, so I was student teaching in Connecticut in an urban school, which is very different from this type of environment. I’m pretty used to crazy, hectic situations, so I’ve had a lot of fights, I’ve had great classroom management, so I was trying to figure out how to make history fun. 

Q: What made you want to be a teacher?

A: When I was really young, I always said I wanted to be a teacher. Then as I got older, I said “I don’t like school. I don’t want to be a teacher.” Later on, there was one teacher in particular, Ms. Tothill, who made me fall in love with history. She was this super intelligent, determined woman who treated every single student like an adult and had so much respect for you. And I said, “That’s who I want to become.”

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: I went to Central Connecticut State University, which is known for education. 

Q: What made you want to teach high schoolers?

A: As I mentioned before with Ms. Tothill, she treated us like adults, and I wanted to do the same. I like that normal, human interaction where I know I’m going to influence you in some way.

Q: What hobbies do you have outside of school?

A: I absolutely love to cook, I love trying new things. I’m trying to learn to cook in Southern ways. I love going to concerts. 

Q: What music do you listen to?

A: I listen to rap, of course. I love 80’s music, 90’s, early 2000’s all that. 

Q: Why did you move to North Carolina?

A: My brother went to UNCC and he works in Charlotte, but I’ve been coming to North Carolina for the past ten years. I’ve absolutely loved it here. I love the culture, the warm weather, and the food. 

Q: How difficult was being virtual last year?

A: Very hard. I was lucky because I had some students in person and some online, so the in-person students and I were the best of friends.

Q: What is your favorite teaching memory?

A: Definitely incorporating Tik Tok’s into the curriculum.

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