How did your program in the College of Education prepare you?
I sought out the Reading Specialization cohort and it did not disappoint. We read research, created lesson plans, completed running records, and were able to apply this learning in real time during our English as a Second Language tutoring program. After my undergraduate program, I was prepared with my knowledge on the logistics, data collection, and lesson planning aspects of teaching.
Are there particular courses or projects during your time at UT that stand out?
The intentional focus on equity in my graduate program provided a rich vocabulary and relevant research. A key component is the ability to conduct equity audits. I’ve run reports to identify opportunity gaps, overrepresentation or underrepresentation of particular student groups, and current areas of concern that could be addressed to produce more equitable outcomes. This year as a master teacher, I have opportunities to build teacher capacity through observations, modeling lessons, coaching, and giving feedback.
School Organization and Classroom Management was particularly impactful. However, I know that I learn best when I am learning from others, so the most valuable part for me was interning and student teaching in classrooms at Cowan Elementary.
What do you like most about your work?
Daily reflection makes teaching the best opportunity to grow as a leader and a learner. It provides me with second chances, so that even on the most difficult of days, I still have endless opportunities to improve my practice.
What has been most surprising to you about your career path?
After finishing my undergraduate degree, I naively thought that I was finished learning. In May, I completed my seventh year of teaching, and I am continually surprised at the amount of new information and ideas I learn each day. My students are, and forever will be, my greatest teachers. I am so fortunate to work with such highly qualified teachers—on my team, at my school, and district-wide. Whether I’m observing a kindergarten or fifth-grade classroom, I always leave with a new tool or strategy to implement in my own classroom.