Educator Kapri Dowdell


By Staff

What inspired you to become an educator?

I desired to become a teacher, a special education teacher specifically, to help students reach their full potential academically, mentally, and socially. Growing up I loved working with a wide range of kids and wanted to make an everlasting impact on their lives. Due to the personal struggles I’ve endured from having numerous of surgeries on my legs because of my disability, I experienced feeling like an outcast from my peers and not having all the accommodations to be the most successful in various settings. My physical disability steered me into Special Education to inspire and educate diverse learners to not use their disability as a burrier, but to embrace it and push themselves to be all they can be.

What has been the most gratifying aspect of teaching your students?

The most gratifying aspect of teaching my students is their excitement when they accomplish a goal. Working with diverse learners in a cluster setting, seeing improvements or growth in a student does not happen overnight. With constant encouragement and patience on various skills, students will make progress. I am always my students’ biggest cheerleaders in everything they do, but for students to realize they have mastered a skill is very rewarding. To see the joy on their faces knowing they have accomplished a task is an award within itself. 

Tell us about your teaching style that makes you the most impactful.

If you walk into my classroom, you would immediately sense that a family dynamic is in place. I am very big on building a relationship with my students individually and as an entire class. I am an open book to my students by sharing my life experiences and interests to help them understand and connect with me. Being vulnerable in this space allows other students to blossom to be their natural selves. Moreover, I ensure I demonstrate respect and love daily when interacting with students as an example of how they should treat others. Once establishing a healthy teacher-student relationship in the classroom, giving instruction becomes easy and learning can go forth without many distractions.

Teaching has its challenges. What keeps you motivated?

“Every day is a new day, with a clean slate.” This is something I tell myself and students daily. Obstacles may arise, but it’s only temporary and I refuse for any situation to be a stumbling block. 

Also, many times I have to remind myself of “my why”. Why am I an educator? As I am evolving as an educator, my reasoning to be in this field may shift but the desire to make change and help kids will never change. Imagining the impact I can make on one student’s life alone keeps me going to fulfill my duties.  

Tell me about your community service experience with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Being a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has brought me much joy. I have been blessed with amazing line sisters, Sorors, and opportunities to serve ALL mankind. Giving back to my community and serving others is a nonstop act. Working with youth, helping at food banks, clothe drives, and cleaning the community is just a few activities I’ve partaken in. Service is a trait that is within in me. In every space I am in, I try to see how can I be of service and help someone else. 

Who is Kapri when nobody is around?

When no one is around I would like to think I am the same person, yet quiet and more reflective. In most environments I am in, I have to be outgoing and full of energy. Once I am by myself, I get silent for a while and do things that bring me peace to recharge myself before going in the world. 

How do you find balance with teaching, community service and graduate school?

Balancing teaching, community service, and graduate school comes naturally. I have numerous of calendars to keep myself  on track with everything. On the contrary, these three parts of my life intertwine effortlessly. I’m in graduate school currently to help further my desires as an educator and leader. Many times my teaching experiences impact graduate school. My involvement within my sorority overlaps how I show up as a teacher. Working in a school environment is a way I can give back to my community daily. I ensure I dedicate time for each aspect of my life while balancing an outside life as well.