Trinity Alum Makes Return as Long-term Sub

Cate Williams, Staff Writer

   Madeline Walker, a Trinity alum, makes her return to campus as a long-term sub for the English department this school year. Six years after she graduated , she found her way back to the school despite it not being a part of her initial plan. 

   “I spent the full 7 years here at Trinity and never once did I think I’d be returning to campus,” she said.

   Last March, during the roughest part of the pandemic, Walker saw a window open up for substitute teaching.

   “That window led to being a long term substitute teacher and now here I am,” she said. “Thankfully I am finishing out the school year with these really awesome students.”

   Even as a first year teacher, Walker said she’s easily adjusted to remote learning due to her past experience as a remote student at the University of Central Florida.

   “I know what worked for me and what didn’t work,” she said, “ I think I have a step up because I have been in their position and I’m really trying to reach out to them and make them feel as connected as possible”

   Along with her experience as a remote student, Walker thinks her unique personality is a perfect fit for teaching middle school students. 

   “I love middle school humor and I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel that I can easily match their energy while still keeping the focus during class,” Walker said. “It’s definitely difficult to balance having a good time, retaining the information in class, and following COVID-19 protocols, but I think I do a good job juggling all of those things.”

  Walker has made new connections and easily assimilated back into daily life at Trinity, in spite of COVID-19. 

   “I’m really grateful that I am now spending my time with people in the same boat as me, and we’re all just making the best out of the situation every day,”she said.

   Along with her experience as a remote student, in the past, Walker has assisted at summer camps through local theaters and community centers as a high schooler. Along with her love for English, Walker has a degree in theater that she is extremely passionate about as well. She feels that her experience as a performer is very beneficial to keep her in-person and remote students engaged during class. Walker wants to continue her support for the theater program at Trinity by helping out with performances down the line. Two years ago, Walker had been a Production Assistant and Choreographer for the middle school musical. 

   “I’m very supportive of this program because it really influenced me and trained me to be the artist I am today,” she said. 

   Originally, Walker wanted to attend a college outside of Florida, but after ultimately deciding to enroll at the University of Central Florida, she is thankful that she stayed. She had several opportunities to work with professional theaters in town, along with making strong connections with Orlando theme parks and their performers. Walker also performed with the British Band Duran Duran in the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center last year for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission.

   Walker still keeps in touch with many of her professors to ask for tips on safe in-person teaching and how to properly approach remote teaching. She emphasizes the importance of building a strong relationship between teachers and students especially during these times.

   “I think it is key for the kids to stay consistently interconnected with their teachers and have their own support group so that no one feels left out,” she said.

   Walker’s main takeaways from her time at Trinity is the value of communication and friendships. Being in the same class as John Michael Night, Walker expresses how close her classmates became during her senior year of high school and how the event of his stroke greatly impacted each student. Walker still keeps in touch with her core high school group that she had built such strong relationships with. She wants to leave this same impact on her students here at Trinity in the future.   

   “I ultimately hope my students walk away from this year, not dwelling on how difficult it was in a social, technological or mental health aspect,” she said. “I hope we can end this year on a high note and that each student is proud of the work they did in class.”