Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Parker.
Hi Whitney, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I’m a Savannah native and Mother of 2 boys. 6 and 12. I have always done my own thing. Always been inspiring and love to uplift everyone I came in contact with. I pride myself on authenticity and anyone that knows me knows I am very candid and have a great sense of humor.
I’m a high school Marketing teacher which in no way is what I thought I would be doing with my life had you asked me 20 or 15 years ago! I finished undergrad with a BBA in Marketing in December of 2007. I took a semester off and complete completed my Master’s in Urban Planning in December 2009.
My mission was to get into local government. I worked in HR for Chatham County. I entered education as the Materials and Testing Specialist for Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. I then took a position as a Testing Specialist at my alma mater Savannah State University where I got the opportunity to teach adjunct. That’s when I fell in love with the classroom.
I taught adjuncts for a few years. I did another HR stint at Gulfstream and knew corporate was not for me. I re-discovered my place in the classroom 5 years ago and I can say I ran from it but found purpose as a high school teacher.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The road to teaching is what you make real. Smooth is not a word I would use to describe it. More so purposeful.
Some days are not as filled with fun, but with more rigor and deadlines. At the end of the day, the goal is to be a catalyst for change in a student’s life.
Some of the struggles along the way really didn’t come from the “job” of teaching itself but from the politics of the education period. As a candid teacher that is honest with students and feels that building the relationship is important for student buy-in there are some things that we can’t teach but are more life skills that need to be incorporated into the conversations.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a High School Marketing teacher. My pathway specialization is in Marketing Management. The goal is a career exploration and familiarity with the field of marketing for students. Breaking down the basic marketing principles and applying them to project bases assignments for students to have active experience with marketing is what I do. In addition to the project-based classroom, I try to provide the opportunity to experience marketing first-hand by exposing them to local marketing programs with planned field trips to tour SCAD’s new College of Business Innovation. planning opportunities with the Savannah Bananas, as well as exposing them to statewide organization activities with DECA for which I am the school’s chapter advisor.
I am most proud of students coming back for those one-off conversations. Knowing that Ms. Parker’s room is a safe space to sometimes be heard all while learning the curriculum is what prides me most. Teaching is more than just lessons and lectures. It’s relationship building and meeting each student where they are!
What set me apart from others is that I take what is given and add a “Ms. Parker” twist. I meet the students where they are. I speak their language all while teaching them mine. There is a level of mutual respect, but they understand that I am the authority in the classroom. The buy-in is natural because we both have a job to do. I pour into them and they receive. Rather it is the understanding of the “4Ps of Marketing” when in the text or a class discussion of “How to manage stress” that can get them really talking when addressing employability skills I stand by listening to them to understand and not to just give a correct response.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
The education industry is gradually shifting. I can see many innovative shifts and changes in stores. For me, In the next few years building relationships to help position students on career paths that may be non-traditional is my goal.
Once out of the classroom my goal is to create a consulting platform that helps bridge the gap for students that may not be collegebound but career and entrepreneurial-focused that provides a network to catapult them to success.
- Instagram: @_dub_p
- Facebook: Whitney C. Parker