Professional Biography

 

What were the factors that influenced you to become a teacher? Describe what you consider to be your greatest contributions and accomplishments in education.

Throughout my education I have had a great deal of truly fantastic and inspiring teachers. I have also had a few teachers that have negatively impacted me. All influenced me deeply as a teacher.

From a very young age, I loved to read and I loved to learn. I could tell you my address and phone number by the time I was two years old. But in the third grade all of that changed. I suddenly hated school. I cried, made myself sick, and begged my mom not to send me every day. The funny thing is that I don’t even remember what my teacher did that made me hate school so much. However, I strongly remember the awful way she made me feel. By the middle of the year I ended up in the hospital with a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

My traumatizing experience in third grade made me want to teach third grade. It motivates me to be the very best third grade teacher I can possibly be so that no student on my watch will hate school like I did. I go to great lengths to make school fun and engaging. I had a full class of students on Take Your Child to Work Day this year because none of my kids wanted to miss anything!

I believe that memories are very powerful and what we remember tells us a lot about ourselves. And while I don’t have any specific memories from third grade, I do have many memories from fifth grade with Mr. Johnson. It was his first year of teaching and I remember our class getting away with a lot more than we probably should have because of that. I remember his love of golf, Faith Hill, and the Nebraska Corn Huskers. I remember that he had a bunk bed reading loft in his classroom, which I thought was the coolest thing. I vividly remember him sitting on that bunk bed and reading aloud to us: The Giver, The Watsons go to Birmingham, and countless other wonderful books. He began to rekindle the love of reading that I had lost in third grade. Mr. Johnson, with his enthusiasm and passion for reading, made me want to be a teacher like him.

I am by nature an innovator. I have never reached a point in my teaching where I’ve thought, “This is good enough.” There is always more I can do and something new I can try. I believe this attitude of lifelong learning and growing has generated some of my greatest contributions and accomplishments to education. Because I’m always willing to help, I have become a resource for other teachers at my school. Every week, teachers come to me with questions, and I love being there for them. Not only does this foster great community at my school, it pushes me to continue growing.

I have recently rewritten our school’s teacher evaluation procedure. I have designed technology professional development structures to provide more services to teachers every week. I keep a professional blog and a twitter account so I can share what I’m doing and learning with teachers from all over the Internet. Participating in Twitter chats is my new favorite professional development activity. I can have a discussion with dozens of teachers from all over the world about any teaching topic. Together we are better.

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And even though it’s cliché, I still have to say that my students are my greatest accomplishment. Although I recognize that I cannot take full responsibility for any of them, I believe it truly does take a village to raise a child. I am extremely grateful to be part of that process. I can’t wait to see what these kids do with the world. It’s going to be incredible.

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