I teach because I believe that everyone has the ability to succeed. However, in order for a child to be successful, they need a safe, secure, and stable environment in which they can grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. As an educator, I aspire to help my students reach their fullest potential by providing an atmosphere that is safe, intellectually stimulating, and most importantly fun! I focus on interacting with my students in a way that will encourage them to feel intrinsically motivated, so that they can complete tasks to their satisfaction, instead of looking to external outcomes.
Ever since I was a little kid, I have always loved helping others learn. As a child, my family moved and I moved quite a bit. It was pretty challenging to consistently be the new kid every new school year. But, I quickly realized that getting involved in school was the best way to make new friends. Although the transitions were challenging, I was able to adapt easily by getting involved in numerous clubs, sports, and organizations. As a student council representative, I spent a lot of my time with my principal to coordinate plans for an upcoming high school in our district. I loved shadowing my principal and being involved in up-coming district plans, this is how I developed my passion for the field of education.
During my senior year of high school, I took a course called teacher cadet. Part of the course included and observation in an elementary school classroom. There was a blind student in the class I was assigned, and it was truly amazing to observe how the teacher included him in her classroom despite his visual impairment. It was a true testament to this teacher’s capability of providing a safe, intellectually stimulating, and fun environment to best accommodate the needs of each one of her students.
In college, studying abroad in New Zealand truly altered my educational pedagogy. I was the only student on the trip that was an education major; all the other students were studying exercise science. Being around so many people who were passionate about health, physical activity, and exercise, inspired me to want to integrate movement into the classroom. After being nominated into the Teacher Leader program, I began independent research based on Project Playground, the volunteer program. During my research, I discovered there was a lot of data to show how a healthy lifestyle has a positive influence on children in the classroom. Unfortunately, many educators will take away recess, or make students run/walk laps for bad behavior. I disagree with this type of mindset because I believe that students learn so many soft skills through unstructured play. It is important for educators to be good role models for their students, and should promote healthier lifestyles.
During my first few years of teaching, I was fortunate enough to receive grant funding to utilize STEM materials for my classroom and school, which led me to find my love of computer science, coding, and programming while gaining experience in 3D modeling and printing, virtual reality, and augmented reality. I enjoy being able to present this knowledge at various technology conferences as well as partnering with tech companies to create meaningful integration to apply standard curriculum. Most of all I enjoy sharing this knowledge and experience with my students in the classroom.
As I reflect back, I can see how a lot of what I was researching influenced my pedagogy to align similarly with the foundation of The Cooper School. I can tell that everyone at TCS is motivated to inspire and educate healthier, happier children. I feel so grateful to be a part of this type of environment, it is more than I could possibly ever imagine, and I consider myself very lucky just to be a part of this incredibly progressive school.