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STEM Teacher, South River High School, Anne Arundel County

2017-2018 Maryland State Teacher of the Year

What do you love about teaching? ​
I absolutely love the kids. Every single day they do something or they say something that makes me laugh out loud, that makes me amazed at the future our country holds. They constantly impress me with their insight, their foresight, and I look forward to walking in to the classroom every single morning. I share this with my students that I have a lot of energy at 7:30 in the morning, because I'm happy to be there. I want them to find that same passion in their own lives-- what is going to excite them every single morning and want to have a career that makes them fulfilled.

Why did you become a teacher? 
When I was younger, growing up, I had a lot of coaches who really impacted me, and I started to realize when I was in college what a difference they had made in my own life. I remember student teaching for the first time and thinking 'This is where I want to be'. I remember being in an education class and it made sense. I remember being in my old English classes in college, and looking forward to sharing that with students. I think those experiences contributed to my ultimate decision to follow into teaching.

Whether it's the students or the coworkers, the people of Maryland come from so many diverse backgrounds. We sit right at the crux of Annapolis, Washington DC and Baltimore -- which brings in so many diferent cultures and so many different experiences to our classrooms every single day. All those cultures really contributed to who we are as people, and I am lucky to get to see that every single day in my classroom. ​​

Can you describe your pathway to this profession? 
I went to college as an Environmental Geoscience major, but soon changed to English. So after changing majors from Environmental Geoscience to English, I was talking to my family and they encouraged me to look into teaching. That summer I spent a lot of time working at summer camps, predominantly with middle school kids but a little bit with older kids too, and I really enjoyed it. I think the combination of my own experiences, from my coaches growing up and then the hands-on experience in college at the camps really pushed me towards education.

Do you have any advice for young teachers, or those who are considering this profession? 
Think child first. One of the things that I have learned over my entire teaching career is that I'm going to teach a lot of different subjects. The curricula are always going to change-- whether it be different levels of English, or physical education, or even project-based learning through STEM. No matter what happens, however, your students are going to need people to not only educate them, but support them and to encourage them. So the best piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants to become a teacher is to really enjoy students. Be passionate about helping them reach their dreams.