Hello there, KDP new teacher!
Thanks for clicking the link that landed you here—on my first official blog post for KDP!
While supporting you and guiding your experience with KDP is my job, my top priority right now is to connect with you. In order to do that, I am a believer that we need to form authentic relationships (as much as we can virtually) so we can show up for each other and be a community of teachers working together to be supportive of one another in the ways that only teachers know how to do.
You know what I mean because you’re a teacher, too. No one who hasn’t done this job gets it like we do. Am I right?
So, I’d like to start by sharing just a bit about myself. You already know my name, so we’ve gotten that out of the way—that’s a great first step. I’m married to my partner Jon. We’ve been together for 11 years, and we have two beautiful sons; Jack is my bonus son, and he will be 13 this month. Andrew is ours together, and he just turned 6. He’s in Kindergarten and he thinks he knows All. Of. The. Things. He’s decided he’s grown now that he goes to school, so we all better look out. It’s been fun to watch him head to school and love it. He’s thriving, which makes my heart so very happy. Jack is in middle school, which is just a strange phase of life, but we are lucky to have two incredibly kind and thoughtful boys in our family, and we are blessed.
In my non-mom time (what even IS THAT?), I am a reader—I’ll read a cereal box if it’s the only thing around. I enjoy rigorous physical exercise—as a former Division 1 athlete, my body requires it. I also love trying new foods, eating outside, sitting by a fire, and having long, meaningful conversations. I’m an introvert who loves people right up until I don’t, and in that way I’m somewhat like a cat. I like human interaction on my terms, but I am passionate about being a mom, being a wife, being a good human, and about being and showing up for the people I love. I am a writer—I have one published book and am working on a second. I write regularly for a blog on my own website and now, for KDP and this incredible community we’re a part of together!
Professionally, I taught high school English for 15 years and 15 days before I made the incredibly difficult decision to leave the classroom and join Team KDP to support you.
Why did I do that? Great question . . .
During my first year of teaching, I experienced a trauma in my classroom at the hands of one of my students. That trauma became the subject of my first book, Throwing Rocks. What I realized is that far too many teachers are carrying around emotional and physical traumas and baggage that they don’t feel safe discussing or dealing with—or even that they don’t have the time to deal with because our jobs are so incredibly demanding. What became actionable for me was not always the trauma, but instead how leaders and fellow teachers can be there for our education professionals. How are we showing up for teachers?
The trauma that I experienced as a first-year teacher could have crippled me . . . maybe even should have crippled me, but I decided not to allow that to be my story. Instead, I started speaking about school leadership. Pause . . . I do not want to be an administrator, like EVER, but I do want to help school leaders show up for their people in the ways they need. I also started sharing my relationship-building superpower with other teachers: I taught them to build communities in their classrooms. The only real way to make progress with our students is to first make the choice to like them, because forming meaningful, impactful relationships with students is exactly what school leaders should be doing with teachers. These connections pave the way for the magic that needs to happen in school buildings for success at every level.
That’s ultimately what led me to KDP. I know that you are capable of being this teacher—the teacher you want to be.
I know that you desire to have a meaningful experience in your classroom, but that sometimes acknowledging that teaching is really stinkin’ hard is something that you don’t have the safety or the space to do.
Well, now you do.
You have it with KDP and you have it with me. I want to invite you into this community of educators where we will collaborate together, support one another, and create a place where you can be yourself—whatever that entails—and feel free to express the concerns you have as a teacher, and where we will do our best to provide, curate, and create what you need to make that really stinkin’ hard feel just a little less scary.
I hope you will spend some time with us this school year and beyond and that this will become a community in which you learn and grow, and one that you recommend to other up-and-coming teachers. Please know that it is OK to hate the job sometimes. It is OK to be tired. It is OK to be frustrated and scared and sad and have any other feelings—anyone who has taught for a single day has felt all of these feelings right along with you. My encouragement to you is to allow yourself to feel all of that, and to then seek a solution without shutting down. We are a team, and we will work together to support you in whatever ways we can.
Once again, welcome to the most incredible profession in the world.
I am so happy to have you in a classroom with students, and your students are so incredibly lucky to have you as their teachers. It is my privilege to be part of your journey, and I cannot wait to get started.