Education, like being a Cubs fan, is in my blood. Great-grandpa was the Chairman of the English Dept. at the university I attended; he wrote textbooks published by the company he owned. Lessons in English and Busy Work is among the titles from 1930. (The little girl pictured on p. 7 is my mom!) Grandma Betty held her first teaching position in Cicero, IL, the same district where I taught middle school over 80 years later. My dad was the principal of the elementary school I attended and my parents were both my eighth grade teachers.
I needed every limb of that family tree and every minute of my prior teaching experience–high school and university-level years of teaching, the semester I taught English in Brazil, my EFL experience in Germany, and more–to prepare myself for the journey ahead.
As I look back at my career, I confess that my ESL students are closest to my heart–some of whom had no paradigm for literacy in English or their home language, and many of whose parents lacked literacy in any language. The challenges they and their families faced, both in and out of my classroom, gave rise to the professional passion that drives me still: finding ways to bridge research with the best classroom practices to provide access to ALL students, especially those deemed at risk, students who struggle, and ESL students.
I could go on about course development, data-driven instruction, differentiated instruction, sheltering instruction, academic-language acquisition, reading comprehension, and other topics about which I’ve written. However, at the core, education is about providing opportunities for students, their individual pursuit of a dream, and the opening of doors. It is why I consult in this field and why I am at Benchmark Education Company, and it is the most important thing to know about me.