Describe your path to working at People’s Prep.
I was not looking for another position although I wasn’t fully satisfied in my previous district. I just had a child and I needed a summer job, so I came to People’s Prep to work summer school. Before the summer was over I was offered a position and, after thinking carefully about how it would affect my family and how it would affect my career, I decided to come aboard. It’s a decision I don’t regret making. I love the relationships that I have been able to form with my students and with my colleagues. I’m really enjoying just learning to grow.
Tell me about your experience being a mother of three and working at People’s Prep.
Being a mother is challenging enough, so I bow myself to all working mothers. The fact that I’m working at People’s Prep has increased my quality of life at home because, thankfully, all the classroom responsibilities don’t just fall on me. I’m able to work with a co-teacher, and we’ve been able to establish a great working relationship where we can really rely on each other. The job allows us to be better teachers and also better people at home.
Also being a mother and being a council mother, there’s this sort of overlap. I’m able to connect more with my students and my council daughters. I’m able to see beyond their mistakes are their negative actions and see them as children. I always ask myself how would I want my children’s teachers to be, and I strive to be that for my students. So being a mother of three and working here has been truly a blessing for both me and, I think, for my students.
As someone who’s been in education for many years, how have you grown or been challenged as an educational professional since you’ve been at People’s Prep?
I never had the idea that I would just be a teacher and stay at the same level. I’m always striving to grow professionally and personally. Being here has made that love of learning so much more enriching because I am learning every single day. For example, every year we do summer book readings. (This summer) we read White Fragility, and I was never able to have that kind of racial conversation in my old district. I really like the fact that the administration challenges our worldview so that we can be better for students. The fact that we’re able to transfer all those professional development opportunities into our classroom is invaluable.
One of the things that I absolutely love and I tell anyone who asks me how I like working here, is that I feel like the administration puts their money where their mouth is. I’ve been working as a teacher for over 12 years now, and I’ve had administrators who wanted to roll out a series of things without giving teachers a demonstration or how it would look. And obviously, it just never gets done. Here, without being asked, the administration shows us what exemplary teaching looks like. They actually lead training classes which give me more respect for the process because I know that they’re talking from a place of experience.
How has co-planning at People’s Prep been beneficial to your growth as a teacher?
My co-teacher (Mr. Rubin) and I are constantly planning together. I have always believed that, as an individual, you can plan a great lesson, but it’s so much better when you’re able to share and collaborate with another teacher and just see their point of view or vice versa. At the end of the day, coplanning benefits our students and is better for us as professionals. Few schools care enough about it to get into the schedule in a way that is not overwhelming. Because coplanning time is built into our schedule, it shows that we see it as important and makes my planning much more purposeful.