Meet Payton Hill, the recipient of an ACE master’s degree scholarship! We were excited to offer the award to an eligible educator who benefits from our nonprofit partner, Teachers’ Treasures. Hill is currently a fifth-grade teacher in Indianapolis, Indiana with aspirations to teach and lead in special education upon completion of our M.Ed. in Special Education program. We were excited to get to know her better.
ACE: Congratulations on being selected for the Teachers’ Treasures scholarship! What does this mean to you?
Payton Hill (PH): The scholarship feels like an unexpected and extremely valuable gift! I have been thinking about getting into special education for a really long time, and I’m so thankful that I was chosen to be able to pursue it at the master’s level. My students mean so much to me, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn and be a better teacher for them.
ACE: We know that continued education can directly impact your career. How do you hope this scholarship will help you meet your goals?
PH: I hope that taking these courses will equip me to teach all learners and eventually move into a position that allows me to work with students in smaller groups. I aspire to really figure out how they learn best and what they need to feel successful at school. I’d also like to specialize in behavior and help students who are either behind or at risk of such. I work tirelessly for them to know someone cares about their success.
ACE: What led to your passion for special education?
PH: I am passionate about special education because I feel all students deserve to learn in the way that they learn best. Students are all completely different humans who deserve someone to pour into them in a way that makes sense. I am very interested in how students learn, and I love working in smaller groups. I want to show each student I have the privilege of teaching that they matter, they are seen, heard and loved, and that they are a valuable, necessary member of whatever community they’re in.
ACE: Teachers’ Treasures is a local nonprofit that provides school supplies to teachers and their students. How long have you shopped at Teachers’ Treasures, and what do you love most about the organization?
PH: Teachers’ Treasures is one of the greatest things I’ve ever been a part of. I have only started shopping there recently but my students and I are eternally grateful for everything this organization provides.
ACE: What advice would you give to a new teacher or someone wanting to begin an education career?
PH: My advice to someone beginning a career or considering a career in education is to be certain that you are doing it for the children you are going to serve. The relationships I have with my students are so valuable to me, and I want to be a better educator for them because I care about them so much. If your heart isn’t in it, it’s going to feel heavy each day. So, be sure you are doing things to fill yourself up so that you are able to be a constant, positive influence on your students.
Also, every school, subject and position is very different, so don’t give up if one grade level or concentration area doesn’t feel like the best fit. There are millions of ways to serve and educate the children around you. Find a place that you feel comfortable and confident!
Learn more about the M.Ed. in Special Education at American College of Education.