1. What is your most memorable field trip experience?
You know, I always loved field trips, and a lot of my colleagues hated them. Yes, it took more energy than a regular school day, but I guess I'm like a kid in that I loved breaking the routine and seeing something new and interesting. I never had a horrible field trip experience that would burn it on my memory, so all of the field trips kind of stand out in my mind. I really enjoyed visiting Stone Mountain Park and taking kids to the Antebellum Plantation and Barnyard. I also remember going to the Weinman Mineral Museum. I really thought that part of that particular trip was going to be a waste of time; rocks and minerals weren't even part of our science curriculum. It turned out to be the best part of the trip. We got to see a moon rock, pan for gems, and explore fossils. That was over 10 years ago and those students tell me they still remember it.
2. What is something you have learned from your time on Teachers Pay Teachers?
I've learned to improve my teaching resources so that they're better for someone else to use by including full directions, tips for use, and other supplementary materials.
3. What book inspired you as a student?
I loved the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I really wanted to be a writer when I was a kid.
4. What is something you would like to see in the future, for education?
I would love for government to scale back its love affair with testing and look at more authentic ways to evaluate student and teacher success. It's not as easy to standardize across the nation, but if done correctly, it will give a more accurate picture. I would love to see the current climate of pressure on teachers change. Teachers are some of the hardest working professionals I know, but it has felt for the last few years like there is a stranglehold on us. We are looked at with suspicion and there is so much talk about "bad teachers" and what needs to be done with them. In the meantime we are given less and less to work with--more furlough days, less money, and some districts are even giving up instructional days. I really feel for new teachers who have never known the profession any other way.
5. What is something fun about you that teachers don't know about you?
Before beginning my teaching career, I worked as a movie projectionist, technical support operator, Chinese restaurant waitress, and dorm security rover. I'm 5'1" and utterly nonathletic, so the fact that I worked security always gives people a laugh.
6. What is an achievement, in education or otherwise, that you have accomplished?
I am really proud of all of the work I have done in my current position as a school technology coordinator at a public special needs school. In two short years I have become somewhat versed in assistive technology and have presented introductory workshops to other educators, created a brand-new school website from scratch, taught a weekly computer lab special to about 300 three- and four-year-olds, set up, organized, implemented, and maintained a set of schoolwide OneNote notebooks, worked with vendors, managed a budget of about $20,000, and provided lots and lots of training to the staff. It was a huge transition moving from the fourth grade classroom into what I do now, but I've never been happier in my career.
7. What was your first 'Free' item that you posted up on Teachers Pay Teachers? What made you choose that?
My first freebie was the Yearlong, Semi-Quarterly Book Share Project (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Yearlong-Semi-quarterly-Book-Share-Project). I started this project my first year of teaching and grew it, tweaked it, and loved it for 8 years before I joined Teachers Pay Teachers. I knew it was a good example of my work because it was so extensive. Five years later it's been downloaded more than 43,000 times! I got lots of requests for a version that teachers could edit, so I eventually updated it, added more resources to it, and posted a customizable version for sale. (http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Customizable-Yearlong-Semi-Quarterly-Book-Share-Project)
8. What was your first 'Paid' item that you posted up on Teachers Pay Teachers? What made you choose that?
My first paid item was a literature and writing graphic organizer package. I used a lot of graphic organizers during my reading centers, and I was really just trying to think of something I could make and post to see what would happen. I came up with some ideas that were a bit different than the ones I had used before and created them. I still sell some of these now and then, but as my first product, they aren't as polished as the newer resources. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Literature-Writing-Graphic-Organizer-Package
9. Your favorite teaching quote is...
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." -Frederick Douglass
10. What is your 'Go To' time filler?
I'm terribly addicted to TV. I have lots of favorite shows: Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Parenthood, Once Upon a Time, Walking Dead, Modern Family, Raising Hope. I also enjoy discovering cancelled shows that I missed the first time around thanks to streaming services: Veronica Mars, United States of Tara, Life on Mars. I know it's low-brow, but it's a fun escape. In my defense, I do read a lot too!