I grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Colorado College in 1995 in Romance languages and Education. My most formative educational experience was traveling around the world with my family for 8 months in 1993-1994. I taught middle school language arts, geography, and world cultures and gifted and talented magnet programming in public schools in Colorado Springs for a few years before moving to Reno in 1999.
After moving to Reno, I stayed home with my then 1 year old daughter and began teaching and volunteering in the local home school community. Homeschooling one-on-one didn't work so well for us, so I started doing a lot more group learning with her, ultimately creating a small business called World of Wonders, WOW for short. Many of those students who starting group homeschooling with us at age 7 continued through 8th grade. After my daughter went on to public high school, I continued with a middle school homeschool supplementary program for a few more years.
In 2015, I decided to return to school and begin work on a masters in Elementary Education, planning on returning to public school teaching. After long-term subbing for a year and teaching second grade for six months and 17 days, I had to leave. I found I couldn't teach in a way that aligned with my beliefs, that is the short version.
In the meantime, my new little one, born in 2010 has begun formal schooling. I am very excited to have the opportunity to recreate and reenvision the kind of group homeschooling I did with my oldest with her.
I live out in Palomino Valley with my husband, who is also a teacher, my daughters, doggies, chickens, pony, and kitty.
WHAT I BELIEVE
The most important thing to me is that my students WANT to be there. Coercive, mandatory learning is self-defeating. I’m not talking about the normal don’t want to get out of bed mornings, but an overall desire to be there must be present, otherwise it’s not a good match, and that’s ok.
Predominantly, I see my role as a teacher to be a witness, facilitator, guide, and cheerleader for each students' unique gifts.
The best thing I can do is to create a rich, stimulating environment with many opportunities for learning in a supportive, accepting atmosphere.
Learning is the most natural, creative, joyous process on the planet, it is what we are born to do. Each student is different, with varying needs and goals.
I am constantly seeking to provide a balance between structured activities and direct instruction with unstructured, open-ended exploration.
There are many amazing teachers in the world with many different styles. I am not a match to every student, I can’t be everything to everyone. This is why I believe parents and students really should have choices when deciding what educational programs and experiences they want for their children.
It’s up to the parents and the student to decide what homework, projects, and work they will do, my job is to provide many opportunities to extend what we are learning.
I’m a very thematic teacher. I like working within themes because it provides necessary structure in order to really dive into a topic and get creative.
I’m also what I like to call a “creative messy”. To the tidy people of the world, my classroom may make you uncomfortable, but as I said before, I’m not a match to every style, but all my “loose parts” allow for a lot of creativity and self-expression in the classroom.
I don’t believe in grades, behavior charts, rewards, tickets, and other so-called "incentives" for learning. I do believe in skill-building, knowledge-building, giving a lot of feedback, and focusing on growth. I think grades are extremely detrimental to learning. Learning is its own reward.
Teaching is a calling, and it is sacred to me. It is not my career, it is who I am.