TEACHER TUESDAY BLOG
"The teachers at ESD have transformed my life. In doing that, I have grown and touched the moon!"
- A member of the Class of 2018
Check back each week for a new post!
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I actually fell into teaching by accident. I was working on joining the academy for the officers at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport who become licensed state police and firefighters, but the opening was later then I could afford. I saw there was a want ad for an electronics instructor for Fort Worth ISD and I was an electronics warfare supervisor in the US Navy, so I applied. I figured I would just teach for one year and then go into the academy. This was an inner city school and was very rough. But while it was rough to start, after my third or fourth month, I could not imagine doing anything else.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I have never been to a campus that, from the physical structure, landscaping, teaching philosophy, students, faculty, and administration, is as harmonious as ESD. Our campus makes me feel like anything is possible and that the best part of my teaching career and my students' accomplishments are still ahead of me.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I have a philosophy that basically says, "Professionalism is not what you do when it is easy. Professionalism is what you do when it is hard." Bottom line, anyone can look good when life is easy. But, who you are as a person you will never know until things are hard. Also, I fully believe in dream big, then figure out all of the little things one must do in order to accomplish the big. For it is the little things that make the big things work. Believe that you can make difference, as long as you are willing to work for it. Know when to stand your ground no matter what anyone says and know when to compromise. Last, show compassion and mercy when you can.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love the outdoors: hiking, swimming, stargazing, and anything else along those lines. I am also a sci-fi/fantasy geek, as well as loving Renaissance Faires. One time I was a traditional archer and a swordsman.
What is your favorite book and why? I have a series of books I like. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, anything from John Ringo, and historical books like Six Frigates and Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? For humor, Robin Williams; I would love to see how his mind worked. For personal courage, there was a 2nd Lt from an armored cav unit that stood guard over an Iraqi woman, who was shot by Iraqi soldiers during a battle. He protected her with his body till an armored ambulance came up and took her to a hospital. Last, would actually have to be a pair. Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, and hear them talk about the issues they had.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I love how eager my students are for class. They make teaching and learning fun for me too!
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Believing in themselves. I want them to learn to have the courage to take risks and face challenges with a positive mindset.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I love cooking with my husband! I love food and feel cooking is an art. I get excited about making new things!
What is your favorite book and why? Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life. I love coaching books and I have a lot of respect for the standards he sets for his teams.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? One of them would definitely be my grandma. She died when my mom was 16 and I would love to be able to tell her all of the amazing things about her daughter that she never got to see.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? What inspires me happens to be the thing I love most about being a teacher: teaching kids how to read. Seeing their excitement about reading and understanding new words is so motivating!
What makes you excited to come to school every day? My students! Hands down every day is better because of the smiling faces that rely on me.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? P to the 5th (Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance). One of the most important things to me about teaching first grade is for students to learn independence.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Last summer, my husband and I spent 10 days in Cuba. We traveled the country and had a great time, but sure missed our two girls!
What is your favorite book and why? I love the My Father's Dragon trilogy. I read it every year to my first graders and they beg me to keep reading! It is such a great adventure :)
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Mia Hamm, Ruby Bridges, and Barbara Bush. I think these three women are amazing role models and exhibit confidence to be themselves no matter what.
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.
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