College student. Student teacher. Club president. Nationally-recognized researcher.
These are just a few of the hats Kyleigh Marquez wears. The senior elementary education major grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, where she played varsity water polo and softball all four years of high school. After graduating from high school, Marquez and her family moved to Houston, TX. The same summer, she decided to attend Oklahoma Christian University shortly before the beginning of the semester.
At Oklahoma Christian, Marquez quickly established herself in the education department. During her junior year, she led a research project with her friend and roommate, Natalie Little, to discover the effects of peer coaching on teaching performance. The pair presented their research during Oklahoma Christian’s Celebration of Excellence in April 2019, winning best overall presentation for the entire showcase. They later presented their research to Oklahoma Christian’s board of trustees.
Marquez and Little went on to present their findings at the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators conference in Nashville, TN, in November 2019. In addition, Marquez had the opportunity to attend the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference.
Marquez served as a student teacher for a second grade classroom in Yukon, OK, and will graduate this April. After graduation, she will become a first grade teacher in Yukon for the upcoming school year.
Marquez is also involved on campus as president of Theta Theta Theta. She previously served as events coordinator, where she led the club’s Homecoming events, and is involved in intramurals and Spring Sing.
Q: Why did you choose to become an elementary teacher?
A: Honestly, I chose education on a whim. I knew I was good with kids, and I’ve always had a knack for teaching people. Going into it, I knew I didn’t want to teach high school or middle school. At the time, I didn’t really know why I chose it, but I think my best decisions come from not knowing why I do things; I like trusting my gut.
Q: Could you tell me about a student in your classroom who stands out to you?
A: I have a student; what stands out about him is that he speaks only Spanish at home. At the beginning of this year, he was very nonverbal, he was really behind, he would not talk to anyone, read or do his work. Looking at him now, he will fully engage in conversation. He will ask you if he can read to him, which is unreal. I’m amazed at what one year can do for a child.
Q: What have you learned about being a teacher since beginning student teaching?
A: Not letting things that happen in my life dictate what I do in the classroom. There’s a saying I was taught: “When you step into that classroom, you are taking off your life hat and you are putting on your teacher hat.” You have to walk into that classroom and act like everything is OK. You have to be super strong for them. You can’t sit there and dwell the whole day, because you have to teach these kids.
Q: As a student teacher and club president, you are very busy. How do you manage your time?
A: Google Calendar is my best friend; I have everything written down there. Truly, I work best off of my own memory. That sounds crazy. I’ve learned to focus every day. I sit down with myself every morning as I’m driving to student teaching and I’m like, “What do I have to do today?” It’s what gets me through the day with my time management and emotional health.
Q: Why did you decide to run for president of Theta?
A: While I was events coordinator, I realized I loved all of the girls, and I really wanted to be the face of the club. I wanted to take my personal goals for the club and be able to put them in effect. I ran for president because I think Theta is something nobody will ever understand: it’s a club with a lot of highs and lows, but we will always pull through.
Q: How have you seen your club grow during your time as president?
A: With the year we have had, I can say that this is the closest the club has ever been. That’s something I wanted to see in Theta; I wanted to see everyone get along all the time. Girls encourage and joke with one another. We keep pulling things through like we always do. I know for a fact we are all stubborn, strong, sassy and funny. When we come together, we do great things. We love one another in ways I didn’t think were possible.
Q: Where would you like to travel most?
A: Bora Bora.
Q: Favorite childhood TV show?
A: SpongeBob SquarePants.
Q: Other than your current career, what’s your dream job?
A: Forensic scientist.
Q: American Idol audition. Your song?
A: Apologize by OneRepublic.
Q: Fly or be invisible?
A: Be invisible.
Q: Besides Theta, who would you want to win Spring Sing?
A: Kappa or Chi.
This article was completed as an assignment in an upper-level journalism course. It was edited by Talon staff and approved for publication.