I am a geek.
I’ve been a geek for a very long time. In high school, my friends and I spent hours programming an Atari 400. It saved its programs to an external cassette drive. I still have that Atari 400. One of those friends pursued that interest into a career in Computer Science.
My interest in writing headed me in a different trajectory. After working for my high school paper all four years and serving as the editor in chief, I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. However, both my journalism and my English teacher urged me to consider teaching instead. I thought perhaps being a poet would be preferable, but Dad didn’t think there was a great deal of demand for poets in the marketplace. I settled for pursing a degree in English and later, I augmented this with a minor in film studies. By the time I received these degrees, I hoped to find a place in film production. The closest I ended up coming to this was a week+ long stint as a production assistant on Reading Rainbow. The struggle to get into the business was just too much and I went back to where I had started and got my teaching credential.
Oh yeah, and when I was finally able to swing it in college, I bought a PC. I learned Windows 3.1. I learned DOS. I gamed. I played through Doom. I still own Wing Commander. I started swapping components in my PC, adding better audio and video cards, then I built my own PC. Add, mix, repeat.
I spent a few years substitute teaching. I did a year long in 8th grade English for a teacher on maternity leave. I did a half year in wood shop and another half year in a computer lab. That was fun. Both were in middle school. In 1999, I got a call to do another potential long term substitute position teaching computer applications. This classroom became my home. Suddenly my vocation and my avocation became one. I couldn’t have been happier!
I love this job. In the years since I began, I have designed and redesigned my curriculum a countless number of times. It is always changing. The needs of the students are always changing. The tools available are always changing. I have been always changing. I have been lucky enough to see the success of my program blossom into more classes than I can personally teach. At any given time I can be found teaching Computer Applications I or II, Digital Photography I or II, Annual, Computer Programming, Graphics and Publication, Website Design or Video Production. I teach something different every period.
I have been teaching since I graduated college. My first job was teaching middle school at an affluent parochial school. It was here that I learned how to communicate with parents who were very interested in their children’s education and their success. I spent four years teaching everything from religion to science. Then I moved to NYC to a 4th grade position in Queens just a few weeks before 9/11. This was one of the greatest learning experiences of my teaching career as I was living and working in what I knew would be a significantly historical time. When I moved to back to California two years later, I took a position teaching first grade. This is where I discovered my love for teaching children how to read. I spent the next six years teaching first or second grade until I was reassigned to middle school. I have spent the last 7 years teaching 7th and 8th graders with one year of 6th grade back in an elementary school setting. I feel like my strong background in the primary grades and reading instruction have improved my practice as a middle school language arts teacher.
Personally, I am married to a guy who totally gets me as he is a teacher himself. What’s even better is that he’s a technology teacher. My hope is to fuse our ideas together to create a blog pairing literacy and technology. We live together with my two son’s and our 4 dog children, Roscoe, Ruby, Molly, and Gidget.