I decided that I would teach with integrity even if I got fired for it.
I'm the girl who goes to the wrong party and is having drinks with the host before she realizes it. I'm the girl who smuggles a kitten home from her Peace Corps village. I'm the one who sees a frail old woman struggling at the side of a river bank and runs to the rescue only to discover she is just peeing. Yep, that's me, always questioning, making mistakes, and seeking adventure.
This is my first day in my very own classroom waiting to meet my bilingual 3rd graders for the first time.
Even though I was blessed to work with over 3,000 at risk youth, I still felt like I wasn’t able to have the impact I knew I had the potential to create.
When I first went into teaching, I truly believed that I would have the chance to empower kids to question everything and LOVE learning. I still remember the day I was handed my first script to teach reading.
I thought, “WTF?!! I have a Master's in literacy and just because I’m a sub they think I need a script to do my job.”
You can imagine how crushed I was to discover that this script was not only for substitutes.
I chose to break a lot of rules for my students and the integrity of my profession and fully expected to be fired many times. But I wasn't fired.
I was given awards and recognition like STEM teacher of the year, but having to fight harmful policies and mandates just to do my best work exhausted me to the point that I left teaching never to return...
or so I thought
I decided to join the Peace Corps intending to do ANYTHING but teach. Alas, I was stationed as a mentor English teacher in Indonesia for 2 years. And, that’s where I discovered that the system wasn’t what mattered.
The health and happiness of the teachers is what matters.
Now, I’ve been fortunate enough to teach and mentor over 450 educators and administrators internationally, which is where I learned that I can have a voice at the decision making table.
I know what it’s like to want to do amazing work for my students in a context that can be frustrating, overwhelming, and discouraging.
I also know what it’s like to let go of the belief that I have no control over my job and instead claim my autonomy and authority over my time, my workload, and my purpose in the classroom.
After 20 years of teaching everything from an urban 4th grade bilingual classroom, to an Islamic high school in the rice paddies of Indonesia, and developing a brand new distance learning program, I’m passionate about my role helping schools and teachers make more time for self-care.
I know that there is no training, program or curriculum, that will impact students the way happy teachers will!