I am second generation teacher; I grew up in this business and had a great role model, my Dad. As a child, I would see him planning lessons, correcting papers and designing his bulletin boards at night. During the summer, I would go into school with him as he checked in orders and set up his classroom. I also saw what happened outside of the classroom too, the way students talked to him at the local restaurant, the way parents interacted with him and the way he treated them all with respect. No matter how many other ideas I had along the way, I was always drawn to the classroom. I believe the layers of my career follow an ever-expanding formula focused on helping more and more students.
I started teaching in 1999 in Leominster, Massachusetts. During my first year I taught grade 6 Geography, my second United States History (my passion). Over the summer Clinton, the district I graduated from in 1995, advertised for a History/Social Studies teacher. I had the opportunity to go to Clinton in 1999 but did not; I really wanted to “make a name for myself” before “going home”. In 2001 I arrived at Clinton High School as the newest member of their History Department. It is from classroom 111 at Clinton High School that I believe I have slowly extended my reach to touch the lives of many students.
The first layer of career revolves around my own students. During my first several years, I was focused on the students in front of me and the pre-existing curriculum. I always wanted to be as innovative as possible, creating learning opportunities that would be true to my content but also transferable skills. This layer also finds me creating new courses such as a AP United History and the History of World Terrorism (the first high school course of its kind in the US) to better engage the students in my classes. The next layer finds me helping History/Social Science in my district as a Department Chairperson, sharing my best practices and encouraging others to “think outside the box”. As I looked how my efforts benefited students in my classroom and department, I wanted to do more. This desire led me begin working on projects such as the MCAS Assessment Development Committee for High School History and the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure. I saw these committees as my chance to enhance History/Social Science in districts throughout the Commonwealth. As part of this layer of my career, I became involved with the Model Curriculum Project, which not only provided quality units for teachers everywhere, but made me more reflective of my own practice. The final layer allows me to help students and teachers of all subjects, grade levels and content areas throughout the Commonwealth through the New Teacher Mentoring program. My work as a Master Mentor Evaluator for UMASS Dartmouth over the past two years and my role as a mentor and coordinator of my district’s new teacher mentoring program has allowed me to finally have an impact on the lives of all students.
I would like to continue expanding in all the layers of my career. Ultimately, I would like use to the knowledge I have gained through all the layers of my career to become a Curriculum Coordinator as long as I could maintain some direct instruction time with students. I love history and want to tell the story properly so students either learn from it, fall in love with it…or both! Through my involvement in new teacher mentoring I have discovered a different way to inspire students, by inspiring and supporting their teachers. Certainly, acting as a full time coordinator for a large district’s new teacher mentoring is another career goal.