KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 11, 2015) – Aja (pronounced Asia) Moore thought she knew exactly what she wanted to do after her December graduation from Kennesaw State University. The Bagwell College of Education middle grades education major didn’t want to spend her days in front of a classroom; instead, she dreamt of a career inside the ropes of a WWE wrestling ring.
“That dream has subsided slightly,” Moore confessed. “I wanted to be a wrestler because I want to be an entertainer, but with student teaching, I was performing every day.”
This fall, Moore was a student teacher at the Country Day School in Costa Rica, where she taught middle grades science. She freely admits she only took the job “to get paid,” but in the end she got much more.
“Student teaching in Costa Rica really opened my eyes to teaching abroad,” she said. “I really liked being in an environment teaching science where you can actually see a volcano outside the classroom window.”
During her time in Costa Rica, the former gymnast also helped found a cheer gym whose team went on to win a national championship.
“That was another reason I wanted to be a wrestler. I could use all of my gymnastics skills and I didn’t want to lose my cheerleading skills or my flexibility,” Moore said. “I knew it was acting, but I’m so dramatic anyway.”
Moore’s faculty advisor, Kimberly Loomis, professor of science education in the Department of Secondary and Middle Grades Education, said Moore was “magic” with her students.
“She was more student-focused than most new teachers,” Loomis said. “She had a natural instinct about the kids. It wasn’t about, ‘did I cover everything I needed to cover today,’ but rather, ‘did the students learn what they needed to learn?’”
Loomis called Moore’s instructional decisions “gold,” and referenced her original “rock cycle” song set to the tune of “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” by Silento.
“I love music, and I know students love music, too,” Moore said. “Music is universal.”
After a successful stint student teaching, Moore was offered a permanent position at the Country Day School beginning in August.
“I want to refocus my attention on performing for my students,” Moore said. “I’ve already talked to other teachers about making my classroom WWE-themed. I don’t want to be a good teacher; I want to be an extraordinary teacher.”
-- By Jennifer Hafer
Photography by Anthony Stalcup