I grew up in Gary, Indiana, the youngest of nine children. I earned my B.A. in special education at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College and my M.A. at Indiana State University, also in special education. I later earned my elementary education certification at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. Since then I have continued my education through multiple graduate classes and seminars.
My philosophy of teaching is based on what has worked for me and the students that I have been fortunate to work with over the past 35 years. I believe we all learn best when we are actively engaged and are enjoying the process. That is why I rely a lot on humor, games, and group interaction. I believe strongly in the social aspect of learning, which is very different than the way I was taught. When I was in elementary school, we did much of our work in silence, copying sentences or math problems down without speaking to anyone else. I try to utilize the benefits of collaboration with my students, giving them many opportunities to work with a partner or in a small group. As I listen to their discussions, it is obvious that they are talking about their thinking, clarifying their ideas, and relying on each other for support when they need it. I also believe it is important to spend time building a classroom community where all students feel like they have something to offer. Much of this “community building” comes from involving them in shared experiences, such as reading good literature together, playing games, or putting on a play. My teaching is based on the idea that we are more likely to remember what we enjoy. Besides that, fun and laughter just make the day go faster.