Some Things Are Worth Waiting For
Since graduating from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith in May 2023, things have favored Logan Aguilera, a history graduate with teaching licensure. He’d be the first to agree.
But the spoils he has been afforded almost didn’t happen. Patience, Aguilera said, and a willingness to see things in a different light has rewarded him with a life he only imagined when he became a Lion.
Life at UAFS
Aguilera grew up in Amarillo, Texas, before coming to UAFS. Despite moving out of state, he made himself right at home. Aguilera was involved in many groups and activities while enrolled at UAFS.
He was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity, serving as treasurer, new member educator, and Interfraternity Council representative. Aguilera was also involved in helping prepare new students for life at UAFS. He worked at Cub Camp as a counselor twice and as director of logistics during his third camp. When it seemed like he couldn’t do more, he was a student employee for the Office of Campus and Community Engagement, working for Ashley Goodson, CACE Director, and Wesley Hooks, Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center Director.
As the right-hand man for videographer Trent Aday, he saw things from behind the scenes. Aguilera was involved in some of the most widely viewed campus events, like filming commencement, running live streams for sports, and setting up light and sound in rooms hosting an event.
“I got to work with some of the best people on campus, and we got to do some pretty cool stuff,” Aguilera said with a smile.
When he wasn’t busy helping with many things on campus, Aguilera studied history at UAFS. He admitted that his passion for history bordered on a nerdy obsession and dates back as far as he can remember.“Me and my dad watched the History Channel entirely too much when I was a child,” he joked. “I was a massive history nerd from the moment I could pick up books.”
From the fantasy book series “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” to Greek mythology and then to the American Revolution and Civil War, it was “just rabbit hole after rabbit hole after rabbit hole” for Aguilera. Taking this love to UAFS, he began down his path toward a degree, even when he was unsure at times.
“The biggest thing I struggled with in college was my end goal,” he said. “Hindsight is 20/20, and in retrospect, I am so glad I made it through college.”
Aguilera credits his dad for fostering his love of history, but he thanks his former coaches and teachers for steering him toward teaching.
“I had a group of coaches that cared for me and made sure we did all the things right,” Aguilera recalled. “They’re the reason why I chose what I did. I had them, and I had other really good teachers in high school that I was like, ‘Dang, you can make school fun; you can make a kid feel cared for.’ I had good educators and coaches who pushed me down that path.”
Despite having this foundation of passion and support, Aguilera questioned if teaching was the right choice. Thinking back to his first student teaching semester, Aguilera confessed that teaching, for him, almost ended.
“Student teaching is the worst of it,” Aguilera said of the different mentoring and teaching styles that bombarded him. However, it was a mentor Aguilera worked with while student teaching in Alma that pulled him back from the brink of throwing in the towel.
“Ms. Parrish — we had completely different teaching styles, but kids loved her. I was in her class three days a week. I was barely 20 years old, and she helped me do all of it. She helped me learn everything I could. She talked to me about everything. She showed me all the ropes and everything I could do to be a good teacher. That cemented it for me,” he explained about Mary Parrish at Alma Middle School.
Through patience, Aguilera found a renewed motivation to teach. With the semesters ticking away until graduation, he continued student teaching and eventually landed at Sallisaw Middle School in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
“It was the end goal,” Aguilera said with a smile. “By April, I knew I was going to work at Sallisaw. I already had the job offer; I had everything I needed.”
Sometimes You Just Get Lucky
At Sallisaw, Aguilera found the right support system and fit around him to be a successful geography teacher.
“I lucked out,” he said with a laugh.
Despite teaching only since the fall of 2023, Aguilera said he feels like a seasoned educator. He has a principal who trusts him and gives him the autonomy to grow into becoming his own teacher and a team of teachers he can bounce things off of. Chuckling, he said the hardest part is having students who can’t pronounce his last name, but he’s OK with Mr. A or Coach Ag.
Not only did Aguilera luck out at Sallisaw, but he stumbled into becoming a coach, and does he ever coach.
During his student teaching at Sallisaw, a team that needed help landed Aguilera coaching soccer. Currently, he is the middle school soccer coach for both the boys' and girls' programs and an assistant coach for the high school varsity boys' and girls' soccer programs.
But it didn’t end there.
“I completely stumbled into coaching football,” Aguilera joked.
A chance encounter in the field house with Sallisaw’s newly hired head football coach, Brandon Tyler, landed Aguilera the role of middle school and high school wide receivers and safeties coach.
Tallying it up, Aguilera coaches six teams and, with his classes, sees upwards of 175 students every day. He chalked it up to lucking out but paused when struck with an epiphany.
“Sometimes you have to make your luck and find the place that’s going to give you the sense of security you need as a young educator,” Aguilera said as he realized he didn’t just get lucky; he made his luck.
It’s Something Unpredictable, But in the End, It’s Right
The line from one of the most famous songs by Green Day sums up Aguilera’s time at UAFS and his journey as a young educator.
His patience as a student paid off while at UAFS. Not only did he meet his fiancé of seven months, Alexis Davis, class of ‘22 – the two plan to wed in March 2025 – but he made his luck by sticking to what he loved.
“Do it if it’s your passion,” he advised.
Aguilera encourages all inspiring educators to ask questions, be bold, and find the right fit. He doesn’t want to see anyone settle for a teaching job because the perfect job is worth waiting for.
- History Teacher Licensure
- UAFS Alumni
- Arts and Sciences
The UAFS Office of Communications fields all media inquiries for the university. Email Rachel.Putman@uafs.edu for more information.Send an Email
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Rachel Rodemann Putman
- Director of Strategic Communications