How long have you been a teacher?
I have been in education for 25 years and have spent most of that time in the classroom teaching fifth grade, kindergarten and now fourth grade. I spent about five years as a Literacy Specialist and two years as an educational consultant, training teachers across the country.
What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Dawson?
My favorite thing about teaching at Dawson is all of the opportunity provided for not only me, but for the students as well. I especially enjoy learning from other teachers. I love that we are a learning community that embraces collaboration and helping each other to be the best that we can be.
What is your biggest goal for this school year?
My goal has always been to help my students not only learn, but enjoy their experience in my classroom. I am constantly looking for ways to help keep them motivated and eager to learn. I also strongly value the social-emotional learning component that is present at our school, and I am really working towards being more intentional with that aspect throughout the day. My goal has been to teach the whole child. I try and remember that the head and heart are both in the same body and kids don’t come to school with just one or the other.
How did you discover your own Brave Voice?
I had a first-grade teacher who embarrassed me one day over a spelling word. That had a major impact on the rest of my education. From that day on, I never spoke in any class that I was in - I was always too afraid that I would be wrong and would be ridiculed for it. It wasn’t until my fifth year of teaching that I finally got the nerve to speak and share in front of others, when I taught a class to teachers about reading intervention strategies. That opportunity changed the course of my teaching career. It helped me to continue on my journey of learning more and sharing and collaborating with other educators to help make my classroom a powerful learning environment for kids.
What is one thing about you that would surprise your students?
I think one thing that might surprise my students is that as I was growing up, I could read, but I wasn’t a “reader.” I was a great student and always received good grades, but I didn’t know how to read deeply as so many of my students do. It wasn’t until I was much older that I learned that good readers go beyond just sounding out the words. Good readers visualize, ask questions and think about the text as they go. These strategies completely changed the way I look at reading.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?
I enjoy traveling, spending time with my niece, going to the movies, taking walks and spending time with my sisters. I am also becoming quite the hockey fan.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the amazing accomplishments of my former students. I have former students who are teachers, police officers, athletes and even a journalist. I am also proud of current students who are working hard to reach their goals each and every day.