Mr. Mills' class

Tanner Mills, elementary education major

Elementary education major Tanner Mills recently accepted a job as a sixth-grade teacher in his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina. He credits the university’s Teaching Fellows program, which offers tuition assistance to students who serve in the state’s public schools after graduation, with helping make a college education affordable. “That was the biggest and best decision I ever made,” he says.

I started in the Teacher Cadet program in high school. When I signed up, I did it for college credit. I was ready to major in business, but I fell in love with teaching when I stepped in the classroom. That decision led me to South Carolina.

I remember a lot of excitement because I got the opportunity to come to college. The Teaching Fellows program funds not full tuition, but a hefty amount. It provides enough money for students like myself to come to select colleges.

My first night, after I moved in, I was by myself. My roommate moved in the day after. But even before he came, the welcome from the RM and the friendships I made those first couple of days — it just felt like I was meant to be here.

My favorite thing I’ve done, outside of school but on campus, was my time in an a cappella group. It was a great experience with a great group of guys.

There’s a need for male teachers, especially in upper elementary, fifth and sixth grades.

I’ve signed a contract at Fairforest Middle School, my old school, to be a sixth-grade social studies and science teacher. I hope my students will have excitement for learning and enjoy coming to Mr. Mills’ class.

The coolest thing? Just about all the teachers who were there when I was there are still there. I’m really excited that the people I looked up to are going to be peers and colleagues of mine.

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