At which school in the district do you teach?
I teach at Stroudsburg Junior High School.
What subject do you teach?
I teach social studies.
What grades do you teach?
8th Grade 18th Century US History and Civics
9th Grade Current American Issues Elective, and Model Congress Elective.
How long have you been teaching at SASD?
This is my 26th year teaching in SASD.
What is the most rewarding lesson you have ever taught? Why?
The most rewarding lesson that I have taught for the last 20 years has been on the anniversary of September 11, 2001. I believe that it is critical for students each year to learn what took place that day, in order to never forget. The magnitude of what happened that day is our generation’s December 7, 1941 moment, and with it comes a responsibility to help students learn about those defining events.
What is one important lesson you have learned as an educator?
Two important lessons that I have learned as an educator were taught to me by my cooperating teacher, Mrs. Beebe, a legendary teacher at Mount Nittany Middle School. The first was to be flexible as a teacher. I did not know what that meant a long time ago, but now each day as anything can come our way as teachers, you learn to do your best to roll with it in order to help get through each day with an optimistic point of view. The second was to treat everyone with respect that you come across in your career and life. Mrs. Beebe explained that as the principal’s secretary or the custodian that cleans your room, to every student you come across. My parents raised our family the same way. It makes so much sense and can make the world a better place.
What do you find most surprising about your job?
The most surprising thing about my job is that no two days are the same, even after all this time. Something will happen in class, out of class, at an after-school activity, or at an athletic event that keeps me on my toes and I try to learn from it.
Is there anything you wish you had known as a first-year teacher?
As a first-year teacher, I wish I knew how much the time that I had to spend with my fellow teachers would disappear over the course of my career. The relationships that I developed while I was at what was then known as Stroudsburg Middle School (Grades 5,6,7 and 8 – now Chipperfield Elementary) are relationships that have defined my career. The mentoring and true friendships that I was able to develop in those first few years are much harder now to find the time for, as our schedules are more demanding than ever, and peer support is huge to make it through those first few challenging years.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
My favorite part of teaching is getting to know my students, their abilities, their interests, and their goals. Developing a connection is such an important part of helping students understand the skills that I am trying to teach them, along with self-respect and striving for those goals.
If you could teach another subject what would it be and why?
If I could teach another subject, I believe I would have liked to be a librarian. I have a Master’s Degree in History from East Stroudsburg University and started a second Master’s in Library Science. However, I was unable to finish it. Maybe there is still time!
What do you find most challenging about being a teacher?
The most challenging part of being a teacher for me is balancing the time between teaching a curriculum and making connections to our modern world. Creating lessons that are engaging is something that I have great respect for many of my colleagues and wish at times I was as creative as some of my peers.
What is one piece of advice you would share with your students?
One piece of advice I have for my students is, can tie it into a quote… Carpe Diem, or seize the day. Some days seem to drag, while others fly on by. Make the most of every opportunity you are given both in and out of the classroom!
What is your favorite sports team? Why are they your favorite?
My favorite sports team…do we really have to ask? It would be Penn State Football. I Bleed Blue and White. There is something special about Penn State University that has helped make me who I am today. The work ethic on the field and in the classroom is something I am very proud of the University for establishing a strong tradition in both places. Although I never played a down of football in my life, I feel that along with the other 107,000 fans in that stadium, We Are…
If you could have one superpower what would it be and why?
If I could have one superpower, it would be…empathy. Although that is an odd answer, I think if there was more empathy in the world, it would be a better place.
Why did you choose the subject that you teach?
I chose to teach social studies because I have always had an interest in history, and I had some awesome history teachers in high school. Mr. Heist, Mr. Krekel, Mrs. Kupstas, and Mr. Schneider at Pleasant Valley High School inspired me in so many ways to be a teacher. In addition, my dad was a New York City Firefighter, my mom was a nurse, I have two sisters that are nurses, two sisters that are teachers, and a brother that is now a college professor, service is in my family’s blood.