|Book signing with my favorite author, Sandra Cisneros.|
I began teaching in 2006 after graduating from UNT with a bachelor's in English. I cried after my very first day and wondered what I was going to do with a degree in English Literature! Seriously. But eventually I stopped crying and simply vowed to become a better teacher. In 2010, I graduated with my master's degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in literacy studies (say that three times fast) from UTA. Every day in the classroom challenges me, but every day makes me better. It's that whole forged by fire thing. In all of these crazy years, I have taught on-level 10th, on-level 11th, Pre-AP 9th, Pre-AP 10th, and acceleration. I'm weird and would take a rowdy bunch of odd little 9th graders any day of the week. The entirety of my teaching career has been spent at a Title I school, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I grew up in a not-so-affluent area of Dallas, and I get it.
At the start of the 2012-13 school year, I became the ELA instructional specialist for my campus, which is pretty much my dream job. But getting your dream job doesn't mean life suddenly turns to sunshine and roses. On the contrary! I have learned so much about working with teachers, acceleration students, RTI (aye-aye-aye), and so much more. This past year has been a crazy whirlwind of planning, creating, and implementing new and never-used-before strategies to help our kids learn. In my classroom, we sing; we write on our hands; we fold colored paper; and we can never have too many markers.
By far, I am most passionate about offering the best instruction while functioning in a broken system. Secondary English teachers in Texas are in the midst of a huge instructional shift, and I am excited to be a part of it. Do I love the STAAR test? No. Do I think my kids should be able to pass it? Yes. Do I want to help other teachers fight the good fight. Absolutely. My personal mantra is: It's not about the literature; it's about the skill. Say that out loud in front of a crowd of English teachers...well you've just turned that crowd into a mob! But seriously, this is our shift. It's where we are. We must make our instruction explicit. We must teach secondary kids how to read and how to write. We must realize that we are not teaching novels; rather, we are teaching skills through quality literature. [Gracefully steps off soapbox]
[Transitions to a kinder topic] I'm also a mom...so I'm a teacher at home and at school. My daughter will enter kindergarten next year, and I'm excited to watch her learn and grow. She's funny and sassy and full of lots of good stories. My son is still figuring out the simpler tasks in life like...walking. Using the potty will undoubtedly be our next big milestone, but alas, that is many diaper changes away.
Back to the school stuff. Put your stack of grading to the side. Trust me...it's not going anywhere. Bookmark this site, and visit us whenever you're discouraged or just want to know what to do tomorrow! Everything here is tested with real live children.* If it works, we'll tell you. If it flopped, we'll for sure tell you. And, we can guarantee as much humor as possible.
*No children were harmed in the testing of these lessons.