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? It seems cliche to say it, but I can think of numerous teachers who genuinely changed my life. A big part of who I am today is because of the teachers I sat under for twenty years. So as a young man thinking about my own career path, I realized that I wanted to make a difference for the future, and directly impacting people's lives is the best way to do that. Becoming a teacher gives me the most hours with people of any job I know, and those people happen to still be young and willing to take intellectual risks. What other job gives you that?
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I like to tell people that I am in the people business. I don't teach English-- I teach PEOPLE English. I am energized by both my students and colleagues, and I love that we are focused on things of permanent value: intellect, character...the very essence of humanity.
Beyond your subject-area, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Humility is more precious than gold. It's easy to hide behind swagger and confidence, but real strength comes from both knowing and admitting your frailties. We cannot live well in community until we admit we need other people's strengths to fill in our weaknesses.
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! I am an ordained minister, and I worked in churches for 17 years before becoming a full-time teacher. Somewhere in the middle of my time as a pastor, I was asked to teach part time. It was a slow burn, but I eventually realized that teaching was so much more fun than being a pastor. It took me a few years to fully switch careers, but I've never looked back since becoming a teacher.
What is your favorite book and why? Ugh! That's an unfair question for an English teacher-- it's like asking me which of my kids I love most! I suppose the book that first blew my mind was Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I'm not sure I've ever recovered from the beauty of his prose and the depth of his message.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? For the sake of simplicity, I'll only pick writers: C.S. Lewis, William Faulkner, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. That would probably make for wild night!
What motivated and inspired you to teach? My third grade teacher, Mrs. Gulledge, was magical! She made learning fun and exciting. She always took the time to get to know her students individually and teach us in a way that we learned best. I work hard on being the same positive influence to my students as Mrs. Gulledge was to me!
What makes you excited to come to school every day? So many things make me excited to walk into my classroom each day! Seeing my students skip in with smiles each morning eager to learn makes my heart happy. I love my first grade team! We support each other and bring out the best in one another. Last but not least, the families, I feel so blessed to be supported and valued by them every day.
Beyond your subject-area, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my students to understand the value in being a good person and good friend, and spreading happiness wherever they go. It is important that we respect one another and lend a helping hand when needed.
Do you have a sports team or art form that you particularly enjoy or cheer for? I LOVE football! I cheer on my SMU Ponies and UGA Bulldogs every Saturday, and spend Sundays cheering on my Atlanta Falcons. I was born and raised in Atlanta, so when the Falcons made it to the Super Bowl last year I had my whole class cheering on the Falcons. I still cant discuss the loss...too soon!
What is your favorite book and why? Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. I read it almost every year to my students. It teaches so many life lessons about growing up, letting go, and building life long friendships.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I have always loved learning new things. Teaching is an art which requires continuous self-evaluation; there are new challenges each day because every class of students is unique.
What makes you excited to come to school every day? The students are always coming up with great questions and new ways to look at information.
Beyond your subject-area, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I hope my students will be independent thinkers and life-long learners.
What is your favorite book and why? I've been in a book club over 20 years and have lots of favorites. I enjoy reading stories that are based on historical events or describe interesting things about other cultures. I recently read Daughters of the Dragon and Mischling.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Margaret Thatcher, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Leonardo da Vinci.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? When I was in fourth grade....long time ago....I had a teacher, Mrs. Fulcher, who showed me what it was to care about students. She always came to class with a smile and was an inspiration to me. I remember sitting in class thinking, "I want to be a teacher just like Mrs. Fulcher."
What makes you excited to come to school every day? I am so excited to come to school every day because of the students. They keep me laughing and for sure on my toes. I start my day eating breakfast with a table full of Middle School students. We laugh, they encourage me, and I encourage them. They even help me out with my fantasy football team. And, I also come to school because of my colleagues. WOW...what a great group of friends I have at ESD!
Beyond your subject-area, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Enjoy life and have fun!
Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! Most people know that I love animals, gardening, the Texas Rangers, and am a die-hard Cowboys fan! But many don't know that I was a missionary on a medical ship for a year that traveled around to nine different countries helping the needy. I was a greeter at the front gate!
What is your favorite book and why? The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. This book inspired me to never give up. It help me understand that when things look pretty dim, I need to keep on paddling.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? My professional career as a journalist made me appreciate my high school journalism teacher even more. If it wasn't for her my passion for writing and current events would have never been cultivated. I decided that too many students were missing out on that opportunity to fall in love with news.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? I want my students to learn how to have confidence in their thoughts and how to back up their opinions thoughtfully and factually.
What do you enjoy outside of the classroom? Outside of the classroom I love to read and to write. I am obsessed with pop culture and love watching TV shows like Golden Girls and Game of Thrones.
What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book is Harry Potter because it is the first series that really got me hooked. I was obsessed with reading. My grandmother would read it to me every night before bed.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? J.K Rowling because she wrote the timeless masterpiece known as Harry Potter. Walter Cronkite: A phenomenal journalist who really believed that what he did served an awesome purpose. Shonda Rhimes: Television Writer who's memoir The Year of Yes has inspired me in more ways than one. Her creative story telling and dedication to portraying diverse communities inspires me.
*Pictured above is Angie with her wand at Harry Potter World!
What motivated and inspired you to teach? For me, the motivation and inspiration to teach is very simple. I am shaping and sharing the future with each student I teach. While key concepts, strategies, and formulas are important components of an academic education, helping students build responsibility, accountability, and character is equally important.
Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? The students' passion for learning is the reason I come to ESD every day. Perhaps the greatest example of this passion happens every Friday at Lower School's Chess Club when students arrive as early at 6:50 a.m. for a club that starts at 7:00. What better reason can I have!
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? My job as an educator, parent, grandparent, and citizen is to help build students that will become assets to society. These students should understand their responsibility, have a work ethic, dare to dream, and show respect for one another.
What is a hobby nobody would guess you would have? Going for early morning walks (before school...at 4:40 a.m.) is my hobby and allows me some quiet time. Some of my best ideas come from my daily morning walks. Also, I have 5 grandchildren with one more on the way, and all of our children and grandchildren live within 4 miles of our home.
What is your favorite book and why? The Children's Book of Virtues is my favorite book because it explains how to live your life.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I was inspired by my English teacher, Mel Shields, who had such a passion for and command of his subject and cared about kids. I have always wanted to work with students because they are really our future. At 18 years old, I was coaching a little league team and loved the positive impact I had in their lives.
Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? The overwhelming sense of community makes me feel at home and a part of something important. Whether it is my colleagues, the students, the parents, or others, I truly feel that I am a valued and appreciated part of the ESD community. It is a nice feeling to have.
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? In the classroom, I tell my students if there is only one thing you get out of my class, I want you to be critical-thinking citizens. I don't want them to be critical, but I want them to think about what is going on in our world and think about what they can do to make it better. And, of course, I want them to follow my motto, “Make wise decisions with the only life you have!”
What is a hobby nobody would guess you would have? I have become a massive soccer fan despite truly hating the sport growing up. When I moved to Dallas, I became a season ticket holder for FC Dallas. It is the first time I have ever had season tickets for anything.
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Theodore Roosevelt - my favorite president and would make the night interesting! Pat Tillman - a person I greatly respect for his sacrifice, and he was truly a thinker. Alexander Hamilton - such an important part of our nation's beginning and a visionary.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? I previously worked as an event coordinator for Barnes & Noble where I organized author signings, Harry Potter Midnight Release Parties, and other fun events. I loved my job and the best part was seeing how excited students were about books and reading. I wanted to find a job where I could see that every day, so I decided to become a school librarian.
Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? As soon as I arrive at school each morning, students are walking in the library door to find the next book that they want to read. What could be better than that??
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? Through books and learning I hope that students become grateful, humble, and respectful (towards both animals and people)!
What do you enjoy outside of the classroom? I am on my Peloton bike each morning before work and take classes from former Tour De France riders. I am pretty much obsessed with it! I also volunteer with Best Friends Animal Society.
What is your favorite book and why? The One and Only Ivan by K. A. Applegate, since it teaches empathy towards animals.
What motivated and inspired you to teach? My mother has always been my biggest supporter and inspiration. Her kindergarten classroom was my favorite place to visit. I vividly remember playing in the supply closet, “testing” games, and helping her create bulletin boards. She helped me turn my playroom into my own very classroom. My dolls were the best writers and readers on the block!
Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? The community: the students are inspiring and it is an honor to guide them each day. It is hard to not be excited surrounded by bright, kind, and curious six year olds! Additionally, one of my greatest joys has been getting to know so many families. The level of support I have received has been endless and I feel beyond blessed! The administration, teachers and staff at ESD are second to none; caring, brilliant, fun... I could go on forever!
What life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? My goal is to help children embrace the magic, happiness, and natural curiosity of what it means to be a kid long after their childhoods have passed.
Do you have a sports team or art form that you particularly enjoy or cheer for? I am a huge Texas Longhorn. I've got burnt orange roots that run deep! I have been watching football, baseball, basketball, softball, swimming (and more!) with my dad since before I could walk. The Texas-OU football game weekend is my favorite *holiday* and I wouldn't miss it for anything. I even went 9 months pregnant. I am proud to say my son Jack's first phrase was Hook 'em Horns!
If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be? Lin-Manuel Miranda, Vince Young, and Queen Elizabeth
What motivated and inspired you to teach? Having the ability to empower, transform, and changes lives has inspired me to teach. As teachers, we have the opportunity to discover, transform, guide, encourage, and develop incredible minds and souls. As I go to work every day, I think about how I can ignite one child's learning spark at a time, understanding that one size doesn't fit all.
What life lesson do you want students to learn in your classroom? To be humble and to understand different points of view – these are two life lessons that I want my students to learn. Anyone can learn a language, but to learn about other people's needs, problems, and experiences takes a special individual. I want my students to recognize their mistakes and their failures, taking full ownership of their responsibilities and obligations as young leaders in the classroom. Besides all of this, I try to teach my students to smile and to enjoy every single day of their lives. If you smile and you are happy with yourself, then you are ready to wake up every morning and face any challenge that life will throw at you.
What is a hobby that no one would guess you to have? I love to sit and listen to different sounds - especially the wind, the rain, birds and the ocean.
What is your favorite book? The House of the Spirits because I love the way that Isabel Allende writes.
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