Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Ready. Set. Teach! Kayla Theall's journey to the classroom



A kindergarten teacher at Pine Shadows Elementary (PSE) School is finally getting to put her multiple, partial-year practice teaching experiences into her own classroom for a full school year.

Kayla Theall’s journey to teach began in high school where she was part of a program called Ready. Set. Teach. where students learn teaching skills and work alongside an elementary teacher to observe and assist in the classroom.

“I’ve always known I wanted to work with children,” said Theall. “I wanted to be in an environment where kids were able to be themselves and have fun. I wanted to be the reason students came to school and enjoyed themselves.”

When walking into Theall’s classroom at PSE, it is immediately evident that she has created a fun place to learn. Bright colors, many activity stations, books, hands-on supplies and a smiling teacher greet her students each day. 

How did she get here?

Theall attended Sam Houston State University (SHSU), one of the first teacher training colleges in the state. In addition to earning a bachelor's degree to obtain her teaching certification, she also worked to receive an English as a Second Language (ESL) credential.

“My certification has supported me as I work to accommodate my lessons for all of my ESL students,” said Theall. “ESL students deserve to be provided education that is still clear to them regardless of English proficiency levels and that is what drives my lessons.”

Student teaching experiences with Conroe ISD while she was attending SHSU helped Theall acquire many strategies while shadowing other certified teachers. Upon graduation from the university, she applied to SBISD, and was hired to start working at Pine Shadows as an Intervention Group instructor and helped with STAAR preparations. 

On the 100th day of school last year, Theall became the kindergarten teacher in a classroom with a teaching vacancy. 

“It was so fun to celebrate the 100th day with my new students,” said Theall, who likes to dress up for various special school days. It was a great way to kick off her relationship with her new charges.

Getting to plan lessons and interact with students was familiar to Theall from her student teaching days, but new challenges arose as she also now had the responsibilities to enter student grades into the system for report cards, leading students in safety drills and communicating with parents.

New teacher support appreciated

As a new teacher, Theall is very appreciative of the support SBISD has provided through a program that matched her with a veteran teacher – a mentor.

“My mentor was another teacher on my team that guided me through tasks I had never done before,” said Theall. “Even after exiting the mentor/mentee program with the district, I still go to my campus mentor because she is another encouraging force that pushes me to do the best I can for my students.”

So much foundational learning happens in kindergarten these days. Theall has a strong zeal for the importance of teaching her students language, reading and writing skills that will serve them the rest of their educational and adult lives.

“My heart is fully invested in early childhood literacy acquisition,” said Theall. “The student of language and literacy is something that surfaced as an interest for me as soon as I entered the classroom.” She plans on eventually earning a master’s degree focused on this subject. 

Another goal of Theall’s is to eventually teach in all the elementary grade levels. She wants to better understand the vertical alignment of what students need to learn each year to be successful in subsequent grade levels.

“I want to be able to understand students' needs beyond what is expected from them in the current grade,” said Theall. 

A good fit for the long run

“The biggest decision for joining the SBISD family was because I wanted to venture somewhere different from my hometown district,” said Theall. “I was looking for a district that could provide me with new experiences and have a fresh start. SBISD’s culture and community made me feel in tune with my own cultural identity.  PSE’s allure was how connected everyone is on campus and I immediately knew I wanted to be included in the community.”

In Spring Branch ISD, teachers are encouraged and supported to be lifelong learners, along with their students. There is room to grow professionally along many different pathways, creating rewarding and satisfying careers. Theall expects to be in SBISD a long time. 

“I feel it,” she said with a smile of her happy decision to make SBISD her career home.

Interested in joining Team SBISD? Learn more here.