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An Interview with Kay P Maye, Student of the Month, Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program

Kay P. Maye - Photo Courtesy of School of Education, Ole Miss
Kay P. Maye – Photo Courtesy of School of Education, Ole Miss

While many students spend summer vacation at home or some sunny beach, SOE junior Kaypounyers Maye, aka “Kay P,” is helping incoming freshmen and transfer students get their first taste of life at Ole Miss as a UM orientation leader.

Maye is an English education major and a fellow in the prestigious Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program (METP), one of the nation’s most valuable scholarships for future teachers. The Chicago native moved to Gulfport as a child when his family joined the relief efforts on the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. We recently sat down with Kay P to discuss his time at UM.

Why did you choose Ole Miss?

I originally considered coming to Ole Miss because of the band. I was always involved with band in school. I ultimately decided not to join the band and discovered METP. The more I learned about the program, the more I realized that it was the right fit for me.

What do you enjoy most about METP?

The METP faculty are outstanding. Teaching is a craft and being a teacher of teachers is even more so. I love people who take their profession seriously. Dr. Niemeyer, Dr. Bellman and Dr. Oliphant-Ingham are the perfect examples of this. There are many things happening around education that are not always positive. Having professors to guide us through these issues is extremely helpful.

Why do you want to be a teacher?

The kids I grew up with in Chicago had it rough. The neighborhood I grew up in wasn’t bad, but, the kids I went to school with had it really hard. In all of the schools I went to, the teachers were rude and the students reciprocated that behavior. I hated it. I’ve always been the type of person to want to fix something when it is clearly broken. And that’s how I view the state of our education system. Teachers should be people who like kids, love teaching and have an appreciation for science, math, English—whatever it is they teach. An educator should be a passionate person who actively works to make things better. I decided that person was me.

What’s after Ole Miss?

As a part of METP, I will teach for five years in Mississippi after graduation. I can put my service on hold for up to two years while attending a graduate program. I’ll most likely apply to Vanderbilt University’s literacy program and become a literacy coach. I’d like to teach in DeSoto County or possibly Harrison County on the coast. One day I’d like to live in Memphis and teach in a DeSoto County school. Growing up in Chicago has made me more of a city person. Ultimately, I’d like to move to D.C. and do some work in education policy. I want to make a difference from the inside.

Courtesy of UM School of Education
Interview by C. Green

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