Education has been my passion ever since I tutored my first student when I myself was in third grade. I remember the first time I saw the light bulb turn on for her when she finally understood the difference between ‘flies’ and ‘flys’. As an ESL student prior to having an ESL program or the ESL label in my school, I felt I would be able to help her as long as I could find out where her confusion lied. After a couple weeks, I realized something I had always taken for granted- that the English language sounds one way but can mean many different ways. It had never dawned on me. My new friend had taught me just as much as I had taught her. That day I caught the teaching bug.
Informally, I have tutored in and out of the classroom ever since. In my senior year of high school, I had the opportunity to intern for a first grade classroom through the Aspire To Teach Program. I learned that the pace of instruction and differentiation for each individual student is paramount to authentic foundational learning. Later in college, the Phoenix Zoo’s education department gave me my first informal teaching position as a Night Camp Instructor. I learned that I loved teaching about the environment and how it connects to all aspects of our lives. I found the spark I had seen in my first student back in third grade and was determined once again to get back in the classroom.
Science and mathematics were always going to be my subjects of choice. For this reason, I had decided to go to school for a science degree having already excelled in mathematics in high school. Unlike most teachers on the west coast, I had chosen to prepare to teach STEM by getting as much real-world experience in the field before I stepped into a classroom. My philosophy has maintained over time that those who teach should always stay connected with the subject they are teaching by getting out in the field as often as possible. By staying connected I have been honored to receive the Arizona Game and Fish Department Educator of the Year in 2016 and an ongoing placement in the East Valley Relay Shop with the Salt River Project.
Today I am proud to say that I continue to grow lifelong learners in my students as I myself continue to be a lifelong learner. I jump on any opportunity I can get to bring lessons to the real world. When teaching becomes more real, it inevitably becomes more personalized for each student. I thrive on teaching one-on-one as a means to help differentiate learning based on the needs of individual learners. Teaching students how to develop a work ethic, growth mindset, grit in their learning, and most importantly a confidence in their understanding and ability to apply their learning will always be most near and dear to me as an educator. Let’s learn together.