November 16, 2017, I was honored to receive the “Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year” award. This allowed me time to reflect on how I got to this point in my career. We all got to our place in our careers because of hard work, collaboration, inspiration and talent.
Who inspired you?
I was fortunate to have great educators growing up. These educators filled my brain with knowledge that I was able to take with me everywhere I go! I knew in high school that I wanted to be a Physical Educator. I had great coaches and PE teachers and I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.
My Physical Education teacher in high school was Ms. Kelli Courtois. I will never forget her, as she was my role model and person I aspired to be. She was that PE teacher that everyone loved! She made class fun, was playful with us and had a nurturing and caring side to her. These are traits that I carry into the classes that I teach. My first rule is “Have fun”– if my kids aren’t having fun, then learning most likely isn’t happening. When the environment is fun, learning is seamless. I am very playful with my kids. I teach middle school and in my opinion– the best age group! This age group allows me to be myself, have fun with the kids and play with them. Lastly, being an educator, we must be nurturing and caring to our students. Their parents put them in our trusting hands for more time a day than they see their own child. It is our job to open up our hearts, our arms and ears for them. I learned all of this from my PE teacher, Ms. Kelli Courtois.
Who inspired you?
How did you become successful?
It started with my college career at Westfield State University. This was the perfect school for me, as I was able to excel and work with amazing professors. Dr. Kate Stanne, Dr. Holly Noun, Dr. Diana Schwartz and Dr. Robert Rausch, and my softball coach, Ms. LouAnn Simchak
I have been fortunate to surround myself with talented and knowledgeable educators as an adult as well. This wasn’t just handed to me. I became an active part of my Physical Education community around the state. I met phenomenal people along the way who allowed myself to grow as an educator. Collaboration and networking is the way to improve your craft of teaching. I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today if it wasn’t for these people that I have met along the way: Amy Gagnon, Tony Loomis, Carol Ciotto, Amy Muska, Jay and Mike Cebula, Patty Pursell, Jean Mee, Phyllis Jones, Rich Keegan and Connie Kapral.
Currently, I am fortunate to have a great co-worker, Mr. Brian Deming. We have a great gymnasium environment and a great working relationship, where we are able to teach our students.
How did you become successful in your career?
Share your success story!