My journey in education started while I was raising our four very young children in the Sierra Foothills near Lake Tahoe. The year specifically was 1991, and our children were between the ages of 2 and 10 years of age. As you can imagine, I was very busy and had children in all stages of development; from diapers, binkies, blankies, potty training, growing teeth, losing teeth, riding bikes with and without training wheels, and everything in between.
It was the best time of my life and while my husband and I had little money, the dream of planting a vineyard (which we did but that’s a whole other story) and truly valued that period of our lives, we made every day count and I have great memories of that time. But as much as I loved my life and all the little daily details, I longed to go to college and experience the intellectual stimulation I felt it would provide me, and to fulfill a promise I made to myself in honor of my parents who valued education immensely. My father had an 8th grade education and was a first generation American (his parents migrated from Ireland in the late 1880’s), and my mother arrived as a twelve year old from Mexico.
One day while dropping my children off at school, I was stopped by a teacher who was on a committee looking for a paraprofessional to work with a group of children. She thought I was perfect for the job except I had no training and little education beyond a high school degree. It sounded like opportunity knocking…
I started at the local community college, driving 50 miles one way (for those of you familiar with the Sierra Foothills, you know everything is a distance when driving through the mountains). It took me 5 years to complete my A.A. degree and I loved every moment.
Fast forward to 1997… My family and I moved back to San Diego where my husband and I grew up. I found a job teaching preschool and taught there for 10 years, in the same glorious classroom with the very best mentor teacher there is. Together we taught dozens and tens of dozens of three and four year olds, in a Reggio inspired environment that we were fortunate to create from the ground up. It was an amazing experience and again, opportunity knocked and this time, it sent me to Italy to study the approach I had fallen in love with.
About this time, I had the good fortune to be invited to a gathering of Pacific Oaks mentors and professors who were starting classes in San Diego. I found myself inspired and excited to start this next stage of life, so I enrolled and completed both my undergrad degree as well as my M.A. in Human Development at P.O. When they asked what I wanted my specialization to be, I knew I wanted to teach adults so I chose Leadership in Education. Before I knew it, I was happily ensconced in school and working as a director, a job I love and look forward to everyday.
It is sometimes hard to imagine my journey began 24 years ago. Those four little kids my husband and I were so busy raising are all grown up, married, through college themselves, working and thinking about having children themselves. But boy, did they give me some great experience for what I did, and do now on a daily basis.
Teaching CD 245/Mentor Teaching has been a great fit for me and I am so honored to have an amazing group of 40 students who join me each week to share their experiences, open their lives and ideas, and seem genuinely interested in the experiences I have to share with them. Either that or they are just very polite!
Now, you know lots about my journey. I could be in the honeymoon period of college teaching (and I hope not) because I’m really enjoying myself and now that all the “paperwork” part of getting myself hired to teach this semester is behind me, I look forward to getting to know each of you and the experiences you have had as faculty and learning from you. It’s all about building relationships and my goal is to leave an awesome footprint behind, and new mentors to take over for me down the road…mentors who are creative, confident and who understand that a little attention, a lot of appreciation and a healthy dose of affection will allow us not only to enjoy life but to thrive.