University of Pittsburgh
As a kid reading was a huge part of my life. Every Wednesday when my dad picked us up for his visitation day we would be let free at Barnes and Noble to get new books. There was never a limit put on how much reading we could do. As a result I was a voracious reader all through school and loved sharing and recommending books to friends. I decided I wanted to become an elementary school librarian so I could be the keeper and giver of books!
To become a school librarian in most states you first have to get a few years of classroom teaching experience. So I set out to become a teacher. In the process I fell in love with not just sharing books, but sharing READING! I became addicted to teaching first graders to become readers! I may someday still pursue a switch to the library, but for now I am enjoying every minute of turning babies into readers.
For the past 3 school years I have been a first grade ESL teacher in San Antonio, Texas. I also spent two years as a collaborative special ed co-teacher.
I am still in the field of education because there is literally no greater feeling than when your kiddos start to “get it.” I can’t describe how amazing it feels when your student finally “cracks the code” to reading! The look on their faces when they realize they read a word or sentence all by themselves is beyond compare.
My school is particularly challenging and amazing because we are partnered with Catholic Charities to receive refugee students when they first arrive in America. Students come to my class after about a year or two in a sheltered content “Newcomer” class, but are still English Language Learners in need of a variety of supports. Teaching these students requires more thought and planning, but is so worth it when a quiet, shy, kiddo starts blossoming and participating more fully in class.
One day I hope for more teacher input into policy and change. We are asked to move mountains and told how to do it. No one asks us how we think it can be done. I don’t want to have to “just shut my door and teach how I want” anymore. I hope in the future of teaching veering from the lesson plan is encouraged and celebrated. I hope that innovating and researching how to best serve our students becomes the norm and not something teachers keep secret from administrators with clipboards. One day I hope administrators put down their clipboards.