October 2021 Unsung Hero - Teacher Ashley Wilson

This month, we are honored to announce our first Unsung Hero, Ashley Wilson! Born and raised right here in Vegas, Ashley has been teaching for seven years, and currently teaches 9th grade English at Valley High School. A fellow Las Vegas teacher nominated her because of her commitment to her students and her job.

We want to thank Ashley for allowing us to get to know her a bit more, and we wish her the best in this school year! The following is an interview we conducted with Ashley so you can get to know MGA Law’s October 2021 Unsung Hero!

Tell us a bit about your history as a teacher. Where have you taught? Are you involved in extracurricular activities?

Before teaching at Valley, I taught at Dell H. Robinson Middle School for six years.

Many of my school extracurricular activities involve reading! I’m always looking to get books into the hands of my students. Last year, while we were online learning, that meant hand-delivering books to students. Over the years, I’ve had fundraisers to buy all of my students a new book to take home every month of the school year or to buy class sets of books to encourage my students to learn about activism.

One of my favorite projects that I’ve done is for our argumentative unit. Students are tasked with writing a speech in support of a charity or cause. While they are learning argument, researching, and writing their speeches, they raise money to donate to a cause. At the end of the unit, students deliver their speeches and vote for the cause that they think best deserves the money all of the classes raised. I’m excited to be able to do this project again with my 9th graders this year.

I was involved in music all through high school and college, so while I was at Robison, I taught some of my students flute lessons. I also helped coach softball and was a speech and debate coach. While at Robison, we hosted two middle school Speech and Debate tournaments. Last year I was also the advisor for Robison’s Skate Club. This year I’m working on getting Valley’s Speech and Debate team up and running again.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

The most rewarding thing about my job is getting to learn from the best people on the planet—my students. They are thoughtful, hilarious, and determined to change the world. I’m glad that I get to be a small part of that. I get to see my students grow and do amazing things every day, and that is the best part of teaching.

What are some of the small enjoyments you get from your job?

No two days are the same!
I get to play “Friday” by Rebecca Black during every passing period on Fridays, and no one can stop me. (The children pretend they hate this, but we all know it’s their favorite part of the week.)
I have the pleasure to read and share books every day, and I get to help kids find books that they love.
Sometimes kids call me “mom” on accident.
I see “lightbulb” and “aha” moments.
I get to stay on top of all the new trends and music.

What is the hardest part of being a teacher for you?

The hardest part of being a teacher is the overwhelming amount of responsibilities we are given. More and more is added to our plates every day, but we aren’t treated well or compensated appropriately for the sheer amount of work we do.

Tell us a little about yourself outside of teaching?

I was born in Las Vegas, and my parents still live here. I love to travel as much as I can! My last big trip (before the unpleasantness) was to Hong Kong in 2019. I can’t wait to start traveling again! I love to read, journal, listen to podcasts, and roller skate. I have three cats, and they are the best. I play the flute, and I love all kinds of music.

What do you think makes a hero?

A hero is someone who stands up for what is right and is brave in the face of adversity.

Who is your hero, either currently or someone you looked up to growing up?

My mom is my hero. She is one of the most generous and selfless people I know. She taught me how to be strong, independent, and self-sufficient.

If you had to give someone who wanted to be a teacher one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

As a teacher, your most important job is to learn. Listen to your students, learn about them, and learn from them. Too many people think that teaching is mostly about being an expert in the subject matter. That’s an important aspect of the job, but being an expert in your subject means nothing if you’re not ready to listen to and learn from the children you work with.

Thank you, Ashley Wilson, for all you do for your students, their families, and our community. Congratulations on being our October 2021 Unsung Hero!