Job Title and Employer:
Interventionist at Vicksburg Community Schools
Describe your current job:
In addition to my current role as an interventionist, where I work with struggling readers and writers, I have a number of other roles. I was named 2019 Michigan Teacher of the Year, which took me across the state and nation to facilitate professional development and work with other State Teachers of the Year. I teach undergraduate courses in the Special Education and Literacy Studies Department at Western Michigan University and facilitate technology integration training around the world with STEM Revolution.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?
Just about every part of my job is rewarding. Working with young learners and watching them set and reach their goals is by far the most rewarding part of the work that I do. However, working with teachers across the state and country, as they learn to seamlessly integrate technology into their curriculum, is certainly rewarding as well.
What activities, resources, or people helped you prepare for your career?
Make the most of the people around you. Ask for help, ask questions, and volunteer for additional time in your area of focus. You will get as much out of your educational program as you put into it. Don't take classes just to 'check them off the list'. Completely immerse yourself in your learning in order to receive the best outcomes and opportunities for success.
What advice do you have for others pursuing a career similar to yours?
Teachers, we have one of the most difficult jobs but also one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers. We take home our students' hurts, heartaches, and struggles and pore over ways that we can make a difference for them socially, emotionally, and academically. However, we also see the pure joy when our students have worked SO hard for SO long and finally have that AHA moment...that moment when it all makes sense and they have applied that new knowledge and made it their own. There are no words to describe this joy and pride that we have for our precious students...especially when we see that same joy and pride in their eyes.
Teachers, continue to teach with passion, with excitement, and with empathy for these gifts that walk into our classroom each morning. Teach to students and not to the tests. Differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of the students. If the students’ data isn’t showing that they’ve mastered the content, look within. Reach out to colleagues, coaches, and mentors for support. Most importantly, make strong connections with your students. A teacher once said, “A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove... but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”