As a Raytown native and UMKC alumna, I was thrilled to find such a great teaching position here at Rockhurst High School. I double-majored in French and Anthropology at UMKC and upon graduating in 2009, I moved to Lyon, France, for two years to teach English and improve my French. I had no idea what to do when I came back to Kansas City in 2011, but my former French Department did. They offered me a Graduate Teaching Assistantship through their Masters program and gave me a model for what a ‘home-away-from-home’ kind of education experience should be. I tried my hand at a day job in marketing for a few years after receiving my MA, but I kept adjuncting French classes at UMKC because, as it turns out, it’s really hard to stop doing what you love once you get started. When a full-time position opened up at Rockhurst, I jumped at the chance and haven’t looked back!
Just as I did at the UMKC French Department, I believe that students blossom when they are treated like valued individuals who are a part of a dynamic, supportive and honest community. Not a student walks through our doors who does not deserved to be challenged and guided, conversed with and listened to. Similarly, all teachers are students at heart and excel when given both guidance and freedom to explore within a framework of standards of excellence. I love teaching because I still love learning about my subject and my profession.
As a language teacher, I try to privilege modes of proficiency (reading/writing and speaking/listening) in my classroom over rote memorization. I can’t say that vocab lists and verb charts are entirely a thing of the past, but my primary assessments focus on authentic contexts which require students to do something rather than just know something. While STEAM hasn’t always been a buzzword in Modern Language departments, the values of experimentation, collaboration and active learning drive a lot of what happens in my classroom.
My dream classroom has a bunch of happy, curious, active kids in it.