Q. Why did you decide to become a teacher?
A. I loved coaching and working with kids when I was growing up. When I moved to Lake Tahoe after college, I worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer in the Incline public schools, and it really clicked for me: I knew I wanted to teach.
Q. Have you developed your own 'style' as a teacher?
A. Over time, you realize what approaches work best for you and what resonates with the students. Your personality gets incorporated into your classroom environment, too. Through experience, you take the teaching strategies and techniques you've learned and begin to make them your own.
Q. What can a visitor to your classroom expect to see?
A. My first grade room has a warm, fun and colorful atmosphere. Student work is displayed is displayed prominently around the room. I've made spaces for students to feel comfortable no matter what their learning style or pace. There are spaces to work in groups, with the teacher, or alone. The library in the corner of my room is a cozy place to read a good book.
Q. What are your favorite lessons to teach?
A. Writing is my favorite. First graders love to write and you can see them beginning to identify themselves as writers and as authors. It happens right before your eyes!
Q. When you were a child, what were your interests after school?
A. I took dance for many years, which has resulted in some very funny and embarrassing photos! I played tennis with my dad, learned to sail, and loved to ski.
Q. Did you ever perform in a school talent show as a child?
A. I never did, however I performed in a Kindergarten play that I remember clearly- I was one of the three blind mice! That was the highlight of my theatrical career.
Q. Teachers have summers off - how do you spend that time?
A. I love to travel. Last summer I drove cross-country with my husband and our dog to my favorite place, Maine, and back! There are also many places closer to Tahoe that I enjoy visiting, such as the Redwoods, Santa Cruz, and Yosemite. When we are home in the summer, I mountain bike read books at the beach.
Q. Is it hard to say goodbye to a class when they graduate to the next grade?
A. Yes! It is bittersweet to see them moving on after working with them so much and seeing the progress they've made. Luckily, at our school, I get to see them growing up through the grades. Sometimes, their younger siblings end up in my class, which is great!
Q. Can you name something that your students have taught you?
A. They teach me things every day! In the morning they'll walk in with new facts they want to share. Their behavior reminds me not to be too serious, and to have fun with learning. They show a natural compassion toward their friends that is inspiring. Professionally, they force me to constantly adapt to their unique combinations of learning styles and interests. I never know what I'll learn tomorrow- that is part of the fun of teaching!