Where and what do you teach?
I teach at The Bronx Charter School for Children in the South Bronx. I've taught fourth and fifth grade for the past six years. This is my first year teaching as an intervention specialist outside of a classroom. I now teach reading to small groups of students in grades 3 - 5 who are reading below grade level and benefit from intervention.
What is your favorite children's book?
Why did you become a teacher?
I dreamed of becoming many different things as a child but the one profession that remained a constant desire for me was teacher. My favorite elementary school teacher was Mr. Lehrer and he taught me for three consecutives years in different roles. He was an awesome teacher and he insprired me to become one myself.
If you could tell parents any one thing, what would you say?
Well I'm not a parent yet but I hope to be someday. I would say to be on 'the same team' with your child's teachers. Co-labor together and so much can be accomplished for your child when we work together with one focus and goal.
What is your secret weapon in the classroom?
My secret weapon? Personally, it's prayer. I don't pray in the classroom but I do at home for my personal strength. Teaching is always a challenge no matter how many years you have been doing the job. Let's be honest, as a teacher working in the inner city, everyday you are being pushed to your limits. Pushed by students, lesson plans, data, deadlines, lack of time for all of the above. The struggle is real. But in those moments, I remind myself to be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances.
How do you integrate technology into the classroom?
I always start out the year with a PowerPoint presentation to introduce myself. I include lots of pictures and fun facts to show the kids I'm a real person. It's followed by a pop quiz just for fun. The kids always get really into the activity. I also use video clips. BrainPop is great for science topics. I love creating electronic Jeopardy games to review a unit.
How do you dress for school?
The school I work in doesn't allow teachers to dress casually and I understand the philosophy behind that. I do enjoy being comfortable though, so my favorite fall outfit is leggings, boots, and a comfortable dress. I rotate between the dress and professional pants from Banana Republic, which I wear with a button down and wedge heels. I utilize my teachers discounts at J. Crew, Madewell and Banana Republic far too often.
How do you balance or juggle teaching and home responsibilities?
Thursday night is date night no matter what! Of course unless it's interrupted by a parent-teacher conference. My boyfriend is also a teacher. He teaches high school English in a Special Education classroom. So it definitely helps that we can spend hours in a cafe grading papers and lesson planning, while still enjoying each other's company. I'll help make charts for him and he helps me differentiate lesson plans.
Greatest teaching moment to date?
During recess, I overheard a fifth grade student talking about something that happened to him during the previous school year in his fourth grade classroom. The boy split his pants while playing at recess. I asked him if he was embarrased but he was not phased in the least. He responded while twirling around, "People can say what they want! I'm my own self!" On that day he taught me to be my own self. My kids teach me more than I could ever teach them.
Any other thoughts on education or teaching?
I've recently been thinking that in many parts of our community and in the world, education serves as a preventative tool. As teachers, we may not see the fruits of our labor but each day that we help to educate a student, we may be preventing them from falling into a bad habit, a difficult path or a harmful destination. Education can bring about social justice in one child's life. When I get discouraged by the daily duties, I remind myself that there is a bigger picture. And while I'm not great, I am part of something greater.