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TEDxUGA speaker dreams of helping students inside and outside of the classroom

TEDxUGA speaker dreams of helping students inside and outside of the classroom

Darius Phelps began his education at the University of Georgia in fall 2011, completing a bachelor’s of science in human development and family science in 2015 and a master of education in middle grades education in 2019. Phelps is currently working on an Ed.S. in educational psychology with an emphasis in gifted/creative education online. 

Darius Phelps, ED.S. in Educational Psychology, Gifted and Creative Education

While working on his bachelor’s degree, Phelps started working at the Child Development Lab at the McPhaul Center as a student substitute. Later, he became the first male lead infant teacher. He won the Georgia Child Caregiver of the Year Award in 2016 and gave a TEDxUGA Talk titled “Fingerprints Upon My Heart” in 2017. 

When asked why he chose UGA, he describes it as home. “At the end of the day, UGA is home to me” he said. “It’s where I truly found myself as a person and discovered my passion in life, which is to help and inspire children. The faculty and staff are truly a support system and bring out the best in each student. I would choose UGA every single time.

Phelps chose the online program due to the flexibility it allows while working full-time. “I craved a degree program that would allow me to work at a substantial pace without feeling overwhelmed if I wasn’t able to complete certain tasks/assignments during the day time,” Phelps said.

To anyone interested in this program, Phelps recommends to pace yourself and keep a calendar for assignment due dates. He suggests working ahead when possible and reaching out to professors if you need help. 

“The courses I’ve taken have allowed me to grow not only as a person, but as an educator as well,” he said. “Looking back, I feel that I am more cognizant, perceptive, passionate, and most importantly, human, when it comes to my students and being in the classroom.We all make mistakes and have rough days. In the end, we are all in this together and you never know what a student may end up teaching you about life!”

Now in his ninth year in the classroom as a 5th grade reading/social studies teacher in DeKalb County, Phelps hopes this degree will continue to evolve with his pedagogy. In the future, Phelps hopes to take on a leadership position outside the classroom advocating for English Language Learners (ELL) and gifted students of color.