Karen Bishop With Fish

Q&A with UM School of Education Professor Karon Bishop

Kathy DeanEducation, Faculty Q&A, News

Karon Bishop entered the field of education with the intention of being a classroom teacher for her entire career. But as this assistant professor of education in the University of Mobile School of Education is quick to tell you, an education degree opens doors to a variety of opportunities.

“As I learned in my own career, there are so many ways to use a degree in education,” Bishop says.

We asked her about some of the ways she has used her own degree, and why she sees teaching as a mission field.

Q: You have a varied background. Tell us about your career in education.

A: After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Mississippi University for Women, I accepted a position at Fairhope Middle School teaching 8th grade earth science. After teaching there for six years, I transferred to Fairhope High School where I taught marine biology. Later on, I began fundraising efforts to start an aquascience program and, after raising over $450,000, we built a state-of-the-art aquascience lab where we raised fish and aquaponic crops as an avenue for teaching principles of biology. I received National Board Certification in 2002, and soon after returned to graduate school to receive certification as a high school counselor. In 2005 I moved to Daphne High School where I became the senior counselor and developed the school’s College and Career Center. I retired from public education in 2015. Currently, I teach in UM’s School of Education. I also work with students enrolling in the Master of Education in Early Child Development (non-certification) program, the online Master of Arts in Education program and the Alternative Master of Arts in Education program.

Q: What do you enjoy about your changing roles?

A: Like most, I started my career with the intent of being a classroom teacher for my entire career. I loved teaching science, and it was always my goal to develop labs that engaged and challenged my students and encouraged them to develop a real love and interest in science. Moving to a new grade level or subject was exhilarating because it felt like a new job and a fresh challenge. I cherish the strong relationships I built with my students through teaching, counseling and advising a national award-winning yearbook staff. There are so many jobs in education – teaching, media science, administration, coaching, counseling, advising clubs and organizations – but most importantly, it is an amazing mission field where a teacher can positively impact the lives of literally hundreds of children over the course of a career.

Q: How do you prepare UM School of Education students for the mission field of teaching?

A: It is a privilege for me to pray for and with my students at UM. We can talk openly about the mission field of our schools and our own classrooms and how we can silently minister to our students through our prayers, love and kindness. We are in the schools for a higher purpose – yes, we are there to educate, but also to support, honor and minister to young people, even if we can’t say the name of Jesus.