Join MVS in celebrating faculty with monthly teacher features.
How did you decide to pursue teaching?
I didn’t decide to pursue teaching–it pursued me. I had to be a number of other things: dietician, cooking instructor and caterer, paramedic, amateur archaeologist, and farmer before I got my master’s degree and teaching certificate in 1999.
How do you incorporate your background with classroom learning?
My previous jobs were very hands-on and experiential and relied upon ample creative problem solving. My master’s thesis examined the “physical space” of learning environments and what works best for learners of all ages–I apply that kind of knowledge every day.
What is your role with the Zorniger Environmental Lab, and what excites you most about using it as a teaching platform?
Initially, I think I was the “keeper of the dream” and the person that could see the greenhouse and garden before a shovel of dirt was even turned. See, it’s that physical learning space again! Now, as the Z-Lab coordinator, my role is to keep the “dream” alive and allow others to create “dreams” and educational experiences for themselves. My creative heart and soul feeds 24/7 on the possibilities that this resource holds for the MVS community and beyond! We are growing delicious, unique food and incredible ideas!
In what ways do you encourage students to become self-sustaining learners and compassionate global citizens?
My teaching style has always been “guide on the side” as opposed to “sage on the stage.” The side I guide from usually results in one foot outside the students’ comfort zone, which ultimately results in growth. I give them a plethora of opportunities to problem solve, fail without disaster, construct plan B, C, and D, seek credible resources, and reflect. As for encouraging global compassion, students learn from teachers’ diverse ways of modeling it. Students are so observant. They pay attention to my mannerisms and routines. They listen when I tell them that I volunteered at St. Vincent’s Shelter last night–and can they go, too?
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you? What do you hope they will remember about their time with you in 10 or 20 years from now?
I hope my students are still making a difference and leaving things better than they found them. I tell them to come and find me at the nursing home to tell me all about what they have done–I’ll be working behind the counter, of course, redesigning the space!
What are your interests outside of MVS?
Family. My three adult children and their families have always lived far away, so I plot, plan, and yearn for any and all opportunities to be with them. I also like to run, swim, read, write, bake bread, and watch movies.
What is your goal as a teacher?
To learn something from my students every day, and to live long enough to see them all make a difference in the world!