Posted: Thursday, February 9, 2017
Kristen Marakoff, a first-year English teacher at Travelers Rest High School, was recognized with the South Carolina Council of Teachers of English (SCCTE) Leadership Development Award.
Marakoff was honored as an outstanding new member of the SCCTE organization. She was chosen for the award based on her professional accomplishments, engagement in the field of English language arts teaching, and demonstrated potential for professional growth and leadership.
“It was inevitable for me to become a teacher,” said Marakoff. “I always loved school and I think I was looking for a way to extend the experience. I was lucky because teaching is nothing like being a student. But I love it!” she added. Marakoff was a Teaching Fellow and Teacher Cadet in high school.
As a new teacher, Marakoff said she spent time during the first semester figuring out how she wanted to teach and what she wanted the classroom to look like. “This semester I’ve seen a big difference. I’ve established what I want the classroom to look like but I would say the most difficult part is recognizing differences between what classes need and the struggles for each class,” she said.
Marakoff has been honored to have mentors who help keep her on track. “English Teacher Lori Mason and Department Chair Victoria Chance have been very helpful in working through logistical things and figuring out how to be a teacher at Travelers Rest High School,” explained Marakoff. “I would say the biggest influence has been Leigh Unterspan, my predecessor. I use her curriculum for English 3 and IB, which has been such a help because I don’t have to worry so much about making sure I am teaching things that are appropriate for that level.”
Victoria Chance, chair of the English Department at Travelers Rest High, said Marakoff has shown dedication as a new teacher of American Literature in classes that include a pilot inclusion program for targeted students and a special education teacher. She also teaches juniors and seniors who are enrolled in International Baccalaureate English classes for the Diploma Programme.
Ms. Marakoff earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Furman and is certified to teach secondary English.