OFTC ECCE Grad Felicia Watkins Named Susie Dasher Support Staff of the Year
Dublin, Ga., (OFTC) — At the start of the 2023-24 school year, Felicia Watkins, a graduate of Oconee Fall Line Technical College’s (OFTC) Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) program, began her third year as a paraprofessional in a kindergarten classroom at Susie Dasher Elementary School and was named the 2023-2024 Support Staff of the year.
“I am truly humbled and thankful for this amazing honor,” Watkins shared. “I am so happy and appreciative as well.”
“Being named the 2023-2024 Support Staff of the Year is an amazing honor and I am so excited about the rest of this year and letting my work speak for itself,” she added.
ECCE at OFTC
Ever since she was a little girl, Watkins dreamed of becoming a teacher. So, when it came time to further her education, she knew just what she wanted to do.
Watkins enrolled in OFTC’s ECCE program and started chasing her dream.
“My experience at OFTC was very rewarding,” she said. “It was hard at times, but very enjoyable.”
Watkins loved the hands-on practical experience she received in the classroom, something OFTC emphasizes in every program.
“What I enjoyed the most was doing the presentations we were required to do,” Watkins said. “At first, I didn’t want to, but getting up in front of the classroom to speak and present really helped my self-esteem.”
In the Classroom
After graduating with her ECCE Diploma, Watkins started working as a head toddler teacher in a daycare center but knew she wanted to be in the school system. She took the paraprofessional test and started working in a kindergarten classroom at Susie Dasher Elementary School.
“My role in the classroom is to make the teacher’s job easier and to help with the students,” Watkins shard. “I am learning so many things about becoming a teacher, like how important ongoing communication is in order to have a thriving classroom and preparing the students for first grade.”
Watkins enjoys every minute of her work and recognizes that her time at OFTC prepared her for what she faces every day. “My classes prepared me for this position both in and out of the classroom,” she said. “The classes and assignments at OFTC involved hands-on training in how to deal with temper tantrums, meltdowns, children with special needs, and most importantly how I should react to certain situations.”
With a dream of becoming a teacher herself, Watkins decided to further her education toward an associate degree. “My career goals are to become a teacher in my own classroom, teaching kindergarten, first, or second grade.”
She returned to OFTC and once she completes her associate degree, Watkins plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
“I hope my coworkers and the students I’m around every day see that I love my job at Susie Dasher,” Watkins shared. “I just want to give all the glory to God for His many blessings. I hope other people will look at me and be encouraged to never stop working on their dreams. I got a late start in life, but always keep dreaming and believing. You just have to start.”