On my desk rests a picture taken of me calling the roll of my very first class, on my very first day of teaching. I am always surprised at how calm and self-assured I look. I recall my hands shaking as I held my pen, yet my arm appears steady and determined as I point to one of the many seated heads all pointed in my direction. Stomach churning like a washing machine, thus began my quest to [James Earl Jones voice] “Make A Difference.” [Echo, echo, echo]
Over the next 8 years, I was a high school English teacher in Virginia (1 year) and Florida (7 years). My life was my work. My colleagues were my friends. My students were my kids. But then my own kid was born, and I haven’t been a classroom teacher since that day a little over three years ago.
Though not in the trenches, I’ve tried to stay on the field of my profession. I worked as a curriculum designer for a non-profit, sending teachers lesson plans and materials they needed but couldn’t find the time to create themselves. I served on a state committee linked to Race to the Top, meeting some of the brightest, most professional educators in Florida. I’ve presented at several conferences, hosted webinars, published articles, and served on the board of the Florida Council of Teachers of English.
My role/job/persona as stay-at-home mom has afforded me an insider’s outside perspective on the tumultuous shifting landscape of the world of education. I liken it to standing on the moon, watching Pangaea break apart. Slow, painful, ultimately unstoppable, and (hopefully) leading to evolution.
If I had a dollar for the number of times I’ve heard people tell me I’m lucky not to be teaching right now, I’d probably never have to teach again. My heart always lurches at these comments. I don’t want my friends to find other careers. I don’t want teachers and politicians at each other’s throats. I don’t want students caught in the brackish, backwash waters of tidal waves of change. I don’t want to curse the darkness. I want to light a candle. I want to Make A Difference.
Thus, the idea of Teacher Soup was born. [Echo, echo, echo]