“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey
Teaching sometimes comes as easy as breathing. It is my heart, passion, and embedded deep within my soul. I love sharing so many incredible experiences with my students. To have the honor to celebrate the progress of my students is a gift I shall never tire of receiving. To guide children to “aha!” moments; to provide materials for them to learn and explore; to offer a safe learning environment where they being to learn about who they are; to watch them find their place in the world; now what other job would offer such inspiration?
Let me take you back to where it all started:
Practicum and Student Teaching
To this day, Butler has had such a profound impact on the type of person I am today. I believe my class was rather lucky to be surrounded by such wonderfully supportive, charismatic, and knowledgeable professors. I actually learned more about myself than I anticipated while in college. Having the opportunity to often reflect on and consider who you want to be in the world is what I most respected about my college experience. One thing I wish I would have done differently is spend more recreational time on campus. Holding up 3 jobs, putting myself through college, and supporting my younger sister wasn’t the easiest thing to do. So I think I really just only had the energy and motivation to focus on my academics at Butler.
For the past few years, I’ve longed to go back there – I feel my journey on furthering my education is incomplete. I imagine myself working alongside my professors to develop a more interactive curriculum which promotes STEM but really focuses on physical activity, movement, and outdoor-learning.
Youth Programs Director: Climbing Gym
To date, this was one of the best jobs I have ever had! I had some really interesting challenges I overcame in my role as a young youth programs director! I was dedicated, and really just got through by following the needs and interests of my employees, students, and families. Where there was a need, I filled it!
What fun it was to develop my gym’s very first Youth Climbing Club, Summer Camps, Climbing Curriculum, and Birthday Party structures! It was vital to be organized, communicative, and available. Yes, it did require so much research – especially in the beginning – but I did pick up a few skills and tricks I could end up applying to my own rock climbing training!
One moment I will never forget is when a three year old was giving beta (climbing term for tips/advice on how to do something) to another three year old! One other is when a young four year old girl learned to lead climb and showed everyone at the gym what motivation and dedication looks like! This strong little girl was climbing on routes some adults three times her height were struggling on. She was such a prime example on what it looks like and feels like to overcome obstacles in life.
It was my first year as a fifth grade teacher working at a low income school in an urban, inner city setting. I started the year with 37 students… quite a bit. After I arranged my desks, there was barely any room to walk in our classroom. But numbers went down once we hired another teacher in October of that year. My first year teaching was remarkable, and I grew so much from it. I learned about flexibility, resilience, and parent communication. I was inspired and curious to launch a research question centralized around parent involvement and communication.
I am fascinated by the impact of a student’s home life and how communication and involvement can immensely impact a student’s academic, social, and behavioral success in school. I have been researching the impact involvement and communication have on our students and determining what solutions might be available to educators, families, and students to improve this need.
Emotional Disturbance (2018-2019)
My second year brought a myriad of changes, some of which I was not as prepared for as I would have liked to be. I followed my curiosity and passion for special education for the next school year. It was a case study I conducted that intrigued me the most about a student who qualified as emotionally disturbed (ED). This led me to apply and accept a position as a behavior intervention specialist in a low-income, inner city school in Ohio. It was one of the most challenging school years I hope to ever encounter.
They must know, then, that the above-named gentleman whenever he was at leisure (which was mostly all the year round) gave himself up to reading books of chivalry with such ardour and avidity that he almost entirely neglected the pursuit of his field-sports, and even the management of his property; and to such a pitch did his eagerness and infatuation go that he sold many an acre of tillageland to buy books of chivalry to read, and brought home as many of them as he could get.
But of all there were none he liked so well as those of the famous Feliciano de Silva’s composition, for their lucidity of style and complicated conceits were as pearls in his sight, particularly when in his reading he came upon courtships and cartels, where he often found passages like “the reason of the unreason with which my reason is afflicted so weakens my reason that with reason I murmur at your beauty;” or again, “the high heavens render you deserving of the desert your greatness deserves.”
I tackled many more obstacles than I anticipated on all fronts throughout the school year. I dealt with politics in the district, politics in the school, a whole new set of expectations to follow, evaluations up the wazoo, and personal and professional adaptations I needed to make just to survive and keep my head above water. The job itself is not what made my days feel impossible – I loved what I did and the students I worked with. I had so many other obstacles that made my job feel next to impossible: lack of resources, lack of support, no prep time throughout the day, politics, and at times, a hostile work environment.
In the end, my new research I presently wish to pursue and conduct is based on identification of students with emotional disorders. I developed a concern of over-identification of students who have acquired emotionally disturbed labels. This troubles me and I am grateful to have endured all that I do so that I could discover a new theory to explore and collect data on.
Remote Work: VIPKID (2019-current)//z-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/onejs?MarketPlace=US
Around December of 2018, I started to explore alternative options that would allow me the flexibility to make my own hours, work from where I want, and provide me with the satisfaction of making connections with students and engaging them in authentic, purposeful learning. I found it! VIPKID is an online teaching academy which pairs fluent English mentors with students living in China who are learning English. So, I teach English to students who speak Chinese living in China through VIPKID. It’s been a wonderful experience! I have never received as much professional development, teacher supports, incentives to make extra cash, or flexibility to make my own hours before! The teaching industry is a beautiful creature: teaching and learning can happen anywhere. For example, I work my Emotional Disturbance Intervention Specialist during the typical work week. Then, I fill some mornings and evenings with VIPKID. Here’s to making a difference!
Is VIPKID right for you?
If you respond “yes” to any of these questions, VIPKID is worth at least looking into:
- Do you value parent participation and communication in your student’s academic growth?
- Does teaching English as a second language to some remarkable kiddos interest you?
- Tired of spending hours and hours of time on prepping, lesson planning, and grading student work? (tip: VIPKID lessons are all done for you; all you have to do is look at the nearly self-explanatory slides prior to your lessons)
- Want to make your own schedule of when you teach and when you don’t?
- Last question: do you want to earn easy money?
*Click here to read more about VIPKID and see if it’s right for you!
Child Care Center:
And just like that, I found a new path to walk along for a short while. After I spent over a year traveling and half of that time was dodging the hideous COVID pandemic, I decided it was time to get back to what I love doing: teaching!
The job search lasted a little while, but I finally settled on a Child Care Center on the Nationwide Children’s Hospital campus. I work closely with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and our one kindergarten class! It has been a joyous experience to learn more about child development at such young ages! I have been able to further my knowledge and apply safe measures to care for, teach, nurture, and entertain my students in ways I hadn’t yet imagined. Maybe one day, I will make it back to a more ‘traditional’ classroom setting. But for now, I am rather content exploring the world with some truly inquisitive young children!