Teaching is in my blood…literally. Both my parents and my sister are educators – they teach in higher ed. I chose K12. While I had an unorthodox path, nobody was surprised. You see in kindergarten I gave the teacher a run for her money. Patiently explaining that she was teaching things incorrectly and that it would be better if I taught the class. It didn’t work, I was just moved to a more challenging class. So I played school – lined up all my stuffed animals and taught the “class”. I was a peer tutor in middle school and high school. I worked with children who had learning challenges at an after-school clinic during high school. It was then that I realized that I wanted to help teachers. It was difficult to explain – I didn’t want to teach necessarily, just help teachers teach better. I was told that wasn’t an option, so I went to Hofstra and majored in computer science.
Helping teachers was still what I wanted to do, so I agreed to present at the Closing the Gap conference along with the folks at the clinic. We presented an action research project that I had done at the clinic based on using video games to help students academically. I wasn’t a teacher, but I had information worth contributing that was well received. I continued working at the clinic and presenting their research. I knew that I could not be a programmer for the rest of my life. So I decided to go to graduate school and major in education. My professors at Regent University taught me a lot…including why you couldn’t just help teachers…you had to be one.
My first teaching position was as a reading specialist back at the elementary school that I went to on Long Island. I used a combination of approaches including computer games. I taught there for 10 years and then decided to move back to Virginia. After three years as a reading specialist in Portsmouth Public Schools, I moved into Instructional Technology and am now an Ed Tech Coach. All things worked together for good after all – my computer science background, my work as a reading specialist, and my desire to help teachers. Finally!
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