Inspiring AZ Teachers: Meet Ashley Crose

This post was originally published here.

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we’re shining a spotlight on some of Arizona’s amazing teachers! Meet Mr. Ashley Crose, a semi-finalist for the 2022 AEF AZ Teacher of the Year, and the Social Studies Department Lead and Teacher Instructional Leader for Saguaro High School in Scottsdale.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Ashley Crose, Saguaro High School

My mom has been my biggest inspiration to teach others. She is not a teacher but she always instilled a love of learning, working hard and treating others with respect. When I was growing up, we always traveled to places that made me love history, like Washington D.C. She always showed me the value in hard work, especially with my school work and she has always supported me in following my passions and dreams.      

When I was old enough to attend school, my inspiration also came from all of my teachers. My elementary teachers were great! I remember them all vividly, from the care that Mrs. Treece and Mrs. Bendall gave us in Kindergarten and first grade, to the magic Mrs. Sotelo showed us in fifth grade and hiking the Grand Canyon with my sixth-grade teachers. My middle and high school teachers were outstanding and inspirational as well. My high school basketball coach, Coach Reilly instilled values that I also still follow today, one being, “look good, feel good, perform good.” I was fortunate to be able to student teach at my alma mater and with one of my Social Studies teachers, Mr. Davis. Without this man, I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today. He was the greatest mentor teacher, showing me not only pedagogy but how to build relationships and maintain classroom management. 

Currently, there are many teachers that still inspire me. Being a semifinalist for AEF AZ State Teacher of the Year, has introduced me to so many inspirational teachers our state has. They are all amazing people that inspire me daily.  Recently, I was fortunate to be asked to present to new, pre-service teachers at NAU. These pre-service teachers were so excited and full of hope! They all inspired me to continue learning, growing and teaching.  

What do you want people to know about teachers or teaching?

I would like people to know that teaching is an art and a science. It takes dedication, perseverance and passion to be great at teaching. Teachers work very hard at their craft and it is not easy. Public support of education is greatly appreciated and needed, it’s a team effort to build for a better future. 

Currently, there are many questions, issues and concerns about public education. I am a firm believer that when the teachers are treated like professionals, given respect that is deserved and compensated so that they can make an honest living, the impact on society is felt at all levels. One of the great things about public education is that it is provided to everyone and everyone has a story about a teacher that has impacted their life for the better. The impact teachers have on a daily basis, cannot be matched.     

Was there a teacher who influenced you?

My mentor teacher Terry Davis at Flagstaff High School. I was very shy and timid going into student teaching.  Mr. Davis showed me how to create a classroom that brings the best out of my students and me. He taught me how to build important relationships with students and staff that are important for the success of all in the learning community. He also showed me how to have great classroom management and how to get the most out of teaching and learning on a daily basis. I frequently think, “How would Mr. Davis handle this situation?“ Mr. Davis passed away a few years ago but I hope he’s looking down and is proud of me and how I have used his inspiration to become successful every day in the classroom. 

What is the best part of being a teacher or what inspires you?

Being in my classroom every day with “my kids” is the best part of being a teacher. Each day is different by providing new experiences and I learn so much from my kids every day. I love when my students come in and tell me they saw something out in the world that reminds them of our class. There’s nothing like when the students express love coming to my class and learning. Each year we build a family, that family grows and we learn, laugh, sometimes cry. I get to see them grow so much academically in one year and love seeing them become so successful in life. I like to see my students become authors, athletes, musicians, doctors, lawyers, judges and most of all teachers. I am very fortunate that I am now of the age that many of my colleagues are past students of mine. It’s so great seeing them perform a love of a craft that I have worked so hard to be great at as well. 

What would you tell someone interested in becoming a teacher?

I would tell a person who is interested in teaching, to pursue their passion. For me, I was born to teach. Every day is not easy, but sometimes it’s those challenging days and students that make everything worth it. I would explain, to aspiring teachers, that the profession changes you. Being a teacher is not just something I do but it’s who I am. Being a teacher shapes all aspects of my life. It is integral to the profession to always keep learning and keep your mind young. And finally, I would tell aspiring teachers to pursue National Board Certification as soon as they are eligible. The self-reflection, learning and growing through NBC changed my career forever. I cannot stress enough the importance of learning and growing with your students on a daily basis. 

What are some of the best things people can do to show appreciation to teachers this week?

Well, I’m still a real big fan of mugs and gift cards. LOL! No, seriously though, if you are reading this, think back to a favorite teacher you had. Try to see if they are still teaching and reach out to them and tell them that they inspired you. Send them a quick email, there’s nothing better than hearing from a past student about their successes.

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