Michelle Mauck is entering her fourth year as a Career Coach with Youth Opportunities Unlimited. Her contagious energy and warm personality make her a favorite among her students and coworkers. We met up with Michelle to ask her about her time at Y.O.U. and what she’s most looking forward to in the 2017-18 school year.
Q) What first attracted you to Y.O.U.? Why did you decide to become a Career Coach?
A) I felt like I had a real connection with the Y.O.U. mission and helping youth is my passion. I love the opportunity to be in a classroom and teaching life skills. Being a Career Coach, I knew it would be a chance to make a change in young lives.
Q) You’ve been in the classroom for four years now. What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your time working with students?
A) I learned that goals couldn’t be met if real relationships aren’t made with my students first. My students live like adults and are taking care of issues I didn’t even know existed at their age. They are successful because they believe in me as I believe in them. I’m a person they can count on and they know I always keep my promises.
Q) What do you think is the biggest challenge you face in the classroom and how do you plan to combat that this year?
A) The biggest challenge I face is attendance! I’ve been buying food, giving out surprise gift card raffles and making goal setting contracts with students, so they end up graduating. Students lose focus of how important school is when they work 40+ hours a week. I remind them of the power of education and what they can do with it.
Q) You seem always to have students place well in Y.O.U. competitions like the Youth Career Olympics and the E CITY Citywide competition. What’s your secret?
A) My passion and dedication: it can be stressful but I honestly believe it motivates my students, they don’t want to disappoint me. I show them that hard work pays off and it makes them want it even more. My students know that the “THE SKY IS THE LIMIT” and I push them every day.
Q) What are you most looking forward to this academic year?
A) I am looking forward to graduation! This class of seniors has motivated me, inspired me, and taught me. They love me, push me, upset me, and constantly show me that change can happen. These young adults are so amazing and I can’t wait to see what their future holds. It will be a very memorable moment not just for me but for everyone there because these students are ready for any journey life throws at them. Class of 2018 is so READY!