TEACHER TUESDAY BLOG
"The ESD teachers are so welcoming and open to helping you. They want you to succeed."
- a member of the Class of 2017
Check back each week for a new post!
What motivated and inspired you to teach? The excitement in a child's eyes when they understand something that mystified them before.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love the people at work. The kids and my teammates make coming to work exciting.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I can quote whole movies and tv shows.
What is your favorite book and why? The Harry Potter series. It allows me to escape and become a part of a world completely different from my own.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? My sister-in-law who passed away, my great-grandparents whom I never met, and someone to video the whole thing. There is so much I wish to know from these people.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I used to make my sister play school with me for hours. I love sharing knowledge, exploring, and seeing faces light up. I like to make students think and feel the reward of figuring things out.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love relating science to real life and giving students confidence in science subjects. The students and faculty I work with make me excited to come to ESD every day. I love the special community and advisory we have to make connections with students at ESD.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Anyone can do anything they put their mind to. Explore and search for answers and reasons - don't let curiosity fade.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I enjoy teaching piano, reading, spending time with my family, cooking, and traveling outside of school. I have lived in Dallas my whole life - same with my husband, whom I met in seventh grade. We are SMU fans.
What is your favorite book and why? I love Wonder. I just reread it with my daughter this summer. Live your dreams and be yourself no matter what people say or do to you.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would say Mary (Jesus' Mother), Einstein, and my great great grandmother.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I had wonderful math and science teachers in high school. They inspired me and got me involved with tutoring other students. Experiencing and sharing the "aha moment" with others; the joy, excitement, and self-confidence... well, words fall short when describing the way it makes my heart feel.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I get to spend my day with the best students, colleagues, and friends anyone could ever wish for. I strive to mentor and pass on the wisdom and knowledge that so many of my former colleagues taught me.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I'll paraphrase what our Founder, The Canon Father Swann said year after year - "Every ESD student is a unique individual created in the image of a loving God. Each and every one of you is worth so much more than your G.P.A. or the result of some scoreboard."; If you can find your passion and the special calling that God has blessed you with, you'll never "work" a day in your life.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Everyone knows that I bleed Dodger Blue. What I really enjoy doing outside of baseball is spending time with my wife watching the performing arts, spending time in the wilderness, and being with family.
What is your favorite book and why? Tough question, I'll list three. Men At Work by George Will because ball is complicated, and according to Red Barber, "baseball is dull to dull minds." Go Down Moses by William Faulkner because of my southern heritage and man's spiritual journey in the wilderness (getting back to the garden). Wilderness by Aldo Leopold. This book molded my personal wilderness ethic.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Mary, Troy, and Amy; my wife, my son, and my daughter. OHANA.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I have always loved working with young children at day camps and a summer camp in Hunt, Texas. I wanted to specialize in Early Childhood Education and found joy in teaching both at the first and fourth grade levels. I strive to make every day an extraordinary day of learning and growing and exhibiting compassion for others for my students.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? ESD is exceptional in that we offer the highest of academic standards in conjunction with a nurturing atmosphere. This partnership allows teachers to meet every student where he is and move him along his individual academic road. What a thrill! In addition, the teachers at ESD are exceptional on all fronts. My first grade team are master teachers who are always ready to share ideas and laughter. We learn together to benefit students, grow professionally, and communicate effectively with our parent community. The very same is true of our enrichment teachers. They are the BEST! Our administrators are supportive of us and always display a positive attitude. All of these are reasons I skip into school every day :)
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I hope my students leave my classroom knowing how important it is to truly listen to others, to respect everyone's feelings and ideas, and to know the value of remaining positive. There is ALWAYS something you can do for someone else to brighten his or her day. Remember to count your blessings and share with others!
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Very few people know I LOVE to go on ziplines! My favorite is the Monster in Toroverde, Puerto Rico, which happens to hold the Guinness World Record for the longest zipline in the world. I felt like Wonder Woman glancing over God's beautiful canopies of nature!
What is your favorite book and why? My favorite series of books are There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly, etc. These reflect creativity, laughter, and endless possibilities for young children to add their own endings to if they so choose.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? I would choose to dine with: Rev. Chris Jones, a past Headmaster of St. Luke's Episcopal School in San Antonio, Elsie Monette, a past Director of The Saint Michael School, and The Rev. Canon Michael Harmuth, a past ESD Lower School Chaplain. These three most special people have inspired me through leading examples in their own lives of wisdom, strong faith, and compassion for others. I cannot imagine the wonderful stories and laughter we would enjoy throughout the evening!
What motivated and inspired you to teach? Every teacher I've ever had -- either in my family or in the classrooms of my youth -- inspired me to teach. While I knew in my gut that I would be involved in some form of teaching, I was headed to law school after graduating from the Plan II Honors Program at UT, deliberately ignoring "the call." Yet the beauty of punctuation, the joy of reading, the power of writing, and my fundamental belief in the potential of others were siren songs all too strong to ignore and still motivate and inspire me to teach and learn every day.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? The mission statement informs my teaching and vision, guiding what I am called to do as an educator at ESD. This dedication to intellectual discovery, to igniting lives of purpose, to bringing out the potential and growth of all who learn here -- coupled with my love of students and colleagues and literature -- energize me to continue growing and learning in a place that cultivates such. Where else could I come to have such an awesome time with such amazing people?
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want them to know that kindness and compassion matter; that they can conquer anything with a thirst for knowledge and a willingness to listen to others. I hope that one day, they will look at themselves and see what I see in them: pure potential that can transform the world in beautiful, novel, and meaningful ways.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I still keep in touch with my former teachers and former students; I consider them both family. I love sports--watching more than playing them, especially when my children are on the field or court. I enjoy reading books, playing with my dogs and other animals at home, building things with my hands, and spending time with my family (immediate and extended). I often get lost in my own wandering, wondering thoughts and worlds of possible ideas regularly. My favorite color is burnt orange--Hook 'em Horns!
What is your favorite book and why? I simply cannot live without books, without words, without pages and text and ideas and thoughts to nourish all aspects of who I am as an individual. Reading is my great escape, my source of inspiration, therapy, meditation, and knowledge. As I cannot have any one favorite child, I also cannot have any one favorite book; each one nourishes who I am and inspires me to become better in all aspects of my life.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Jane Eyre, Huckleberry Finn, and Scout Finch. Can you imagine how fun that would be?? I'd also make sure that my former dogs, Max and Scout, were there to celebrate with us.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? It has always been my dream (since high school), and seems to be where my gifts and passions converge.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love the opportunity to interact with the particular groups of students assigned to my classes. I love being with like-minded faculty colleagues. I love getting to teach mathematics, my subject of passion.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I would hope they see a model of grace in the way I treat and otherwise deal with them. I would hope they see me model the integration of my academic and intellectual life with my life as a serious follower of Jesus.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love playing 9 holes of golf, walking the 9 holes at least once/week. I love being with my 4 daughters and 12 grandchildren - eating out, vacationing together, and just hanging out together. I love UT Austin, my school for 2 degrees, and I love ESD athletics and fine arts activities. I love The Princess Bride, my all-time favorite movie and book. I love to read.
What is your favorite book and why? The Bible because it reveals Who God is by revealing Who Jesus is. And Crime and Punishment - a dark novel with a redemptive end.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Jesus, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Watchman Nee
What motivated and inspired you to teach? Growing up, I had teachers that inspired and motivated me. When things were difficult, they empathized with me and made me feel capable. I want to be that light for all my students.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love the people I work with! They have become some of my closest friends! I also love kids. I love the joy and pride they get when they learn a new skill. I have so much passion for my job, and I couldn't imagine myself doing anything more fulfilling.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my students to know they are loved and powerful. I want to foster the entire child; not just academically, but socially and emotionally as well.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I just got a new puppy and he pretty much takes up all my time! When I am not taking care of my puppy, I love to run and cheer on my longhorns. Hook 'em!
What is your favorite book and why? I love The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak. I finally had to hide it from my students because they wanted to read it everyday!
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? The three people I would have dinner with would be: Audrey Hepburn because I have had an obsession with her since I was a little girl (I have seen Breakfast at Tiffany's about three dozen times), my grandfather because he is truly the most incredible man I have ever met and really funny, and my brother because he is my hero! He is a lieutenant in the Marine Corps and protects our country.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? It is hard to pinpoint one or two things that motivated me or inspired me to become a teacher because I cannot remember a time when I didn't want to teach. I knew as a six and seven year old that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I would play school with my dolls and stuffed animals and always had a chalkboard or white board in my room as a kid and teenager. I had wonderful teachers in elementary school who nurtured my love of learning and desire to be a teacher, and when I came to ESD as a seventh grader, my middle school and high school teachers (some of whom are now colleagues!) encouraged me, challenged me, and showed me on a day-to-day basis the kind of impact a teacher can have on a student's life. I knew I wanted to be that kind of teacher. I am motivated by the call I feel to speak purpose and life into my students' lives through the content we cover, the skills we learn and refine, and the life lessons we pull from our world's past.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love coming to ESD every day because I work with passionate and caring colleagues who believe in the mission of our school. I get to work with motivated and curious students who come to class ready to learn and to go deep with the material. I love coming to ESD every day because I get to take my students on a journey through historical content that opens their eyes to the impact that one person can have on many, and I get to see them realize that they too can be that kind of leader both now in their futures.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my students to love learning. I want my students to realize their own potential as young leaders. I want them to realize the power they possess to impact our world (in whatever context they live in) in positive ways. I want them to take hold of the belief that they have a purpose in life and that they can leave a positive legacy for others to follow.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Things I like to do outside of the classroom...explore the city of Dallas, take my dog to the dog park, spend time in the mountains, hike, and travel. Through an organization ESD is partnered with, Students Shoulder-to-Shoulder, I have been able to travel to Nepal, Cambodia, and Detroit with student groups. I have made life-time friendships through those trips, and two years ago got to travel to Nepal with husband.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I never planned to be a teacher. But when I wanted to change careers, some friends and family members suggested I look into teaching, so I did. I fell in love with teaching, and discovered my ability and passion for it.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? My students are fantastic in a lot of ways. They work hard, they're smart, and they're respectful. But most importantly, they show up every day curious and wanting to learn. That's what makes me excited to teach every day.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? There are two things that are essential to me, no matter what life my students pursue: 1) The world is full of amazing, interesting people, things, places, and cultures. If we want to live a good life, we can never stop exploring. 2) Every person, no matter who they are or what they've done, is deserving of respect and care. Treat people well.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Anyone who knows me would know this already, but I love my wife, and I love traveling and eating with her. We try to eat something we've never had before every week, and try to cook something we've never cooked before every week. I love exploring the world's cuisines, especially the cuisines of Southeast Asia.
What is your favorite book and why? La sombra del viento by Carlos Ruíz Zafón will always be important to me. Growing up, I never enjoyed reading, and tried to avoid it at all costs. This book was the first real book that I enjoyed, and it got me into reading lots of other things.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? I'd love to have dinner with Chris Thile, who's an incredible musician and a very intellectual guy. I'd also eat with Anthony Bourdain, because there's no one in the world I would trust more to lead me to the right food in the right place for a super enjoyable dinner. And I'd love to have dinner with my wife. But just to be clear, I'm not sure if she would enjoy dinner with the other guys, so in my dream world, these are three separate dinners.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? The teachers that I had in middle school and high school who helped change my path in life are the reason that I am inspired to teach. It's not what they taught me about the subject matter in their class, but rather what they taught me about myself and how they inspired me to explore outside of my comfort zone. At that time, they believed in me more than I believed in myself and pushed me into spaces and areas of learning where I did not think I belonged or could succeed.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? In my role as a Physics teacher and Varsity Head Football Coach, I am blessed with opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our students; that is why I am excited to come to ESD every day. Every single day is filled with abundant opportunities to impact students, either in the classroom, lunch room, hallway, or on the athletic fields. The sense of purpose and gratification that results from positively impacting kids is addictive and every morning I wake up on a mission to find more opportunities to do just that.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my students to learn that the only limits they have are the ones they place on themselves. Additionally, I want them to realize that they each own unique talents and qualities that make them special.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! My favorite hobby is working on my ranch, raising cattle and bailing hay. My recipe for happiness is a pair of jeans, boots, and a tractor! I have raised registered Limousin cattle (French breed) and baled round hay bales for over 25 years and plan to continuing doing so after this teaching/coaching gig is up.
What is your favorite book and why? Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson, which is about successfully dealing with change in your work and in life. This is a book that I first read during my time in the corporate world when Exxon and Mobil merged to form ExxonMobil. I have just kicked off my sixth year working here and as part of ESD's continued growth and ongoing improvement, I have experienced three Heads of School, three Heads of Upper School, and four Athletic Directors. As a result, this book has been a life saver and one that I refer to often!
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 1) My dad as he is still very much missed since his passing last year and I miss his advice on being a good husband, father, and coach. 2) My wife because we don't get to have dinner together very often due to the demands of being Varsity Head Football Coach. 3) African American folk hero, John Henry, as his story was of great inspiration to me growing up.
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