Skip to Content


Virginia Journal of Education

Ten Minutes with…Sabrina Hayes

Position: President, Student Virginia Education Association     
Year in college:  Senior, Old Dominion University
Focus: Secondary Education, English

What attracted you to a teaching career?
Ask educators why they chose a teaching career over other, more high-paying options, and most would say that a big reason was because they were inspired by a great educator. For me, that was Miss Mathis. When I was an eager second-grader, she inspired me to be a teacher through her powerful determination to not only educate us, but to also make us better individuals. It is because of Miss Mathis that I fell in love with teaching at such an early age. Seeing my interest in teaching, she enrolled me in the Book Work program, where second-graders got to help first-graders with their reading. I wanted to be like Miss Mathis; I wanted to bring my enthusiasm for learning, as she did, every day to my own classroom. Ever since I have continuously found reasons why I am meant to be a teacher.

What have you enjoyed most as you prepare to become a teacher?
Being a part of the SVEA, of course! I love the community and am so grateful to be a part of it. Although I have learned a tremendous amount in my classes and from my professors, it was the SVEA that taught me what it means to be a great educator and a true leader, and what it means to be a part of a remarkable community. Since joining as a freshman, I have grown with fellow SVEA members, and through the last few years we have become the best of friends. We just get each other! I have extremely enjoyed my years at ODU, and I look forward to seeing student members, like myself, transition to being VEA members.

What do you worry about regarding your future career?
One thing that concerns me is not being heard. Before joining this organization, I tended to shy away from politics, because I thought it really didn’t have anything to do with me and didn’t play an important role in my career. Of course, I have since changed my mind, and now I am a strong advocate for future teachers to become politically involved, even if that means just getting out there to vote. Therefore, in my future career I want to be heard when I’m advocating for my students’ rights and my rights, and I worry that as a teacher there will be times when I won’t be taken seriously or when others, who have not taught in a classroom, who will make decisions for me. Because of this, the SVEA Board has made it a goal this year to remain politically active, because we recognize its importance.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you?
In many ways! I’m so thankful I went to my first SVEA meeting with a classmate in 2011. Since then, I have remained in awe of everything that the SVEA and the VEA has done for the community and for our members. Before entering this organization, I was a student unsure of what was ahead of me in my years of college. I was also unsure how I could get out there and make a difference in my community, unsure how to lead a group effectively and with confidence, and was even unsure of my capabilities as a speaker. Now, because of SVEA I have made lifelong friends, gained incredible mentors, and have learned a tremendous amount about my future profession. I full-heartedly believe that every future educator and educator can benefit from this amazing organization, and I enthusiastically spread the word of how grateful I am, and how every educator needs to join right away!

One of my fondest memories is going to a Claymation workshop at my first SVEA convention. I remember it being a ton of fun, and being surprised to learn that playing with clay is an excellent teaching tool. This workshop really opened my eyes to how important it is to make learning interesting and fun, and to find creative measures to get students interested. Also, I had a ton of fun with a couple members from SVEA in creating our own Claymation. To this day, we are each extremely proud of our final product.



Virginia Capital

Fund Our Schools Now


Stay in touch with VEA and your fellow members.

Check out VEA and NEA Member Benefits savings programs.

Embed This Page (x)

Select and copy this code to your clipboard