I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents were teachers; my mom taught middle school English and my dad was a college professor at Northern Virginia Community College. I can remember my dad bringing home tests to grade and letting me help grade the multiple choice section. I would get so mad when the tests had an essay section because I couldn’t help with that. Looking back I’m surprised he actually let me grade them, I’m sure he went back to check all of my work.
Did you begin your teaching career at North Cross?
I really did. After graduating from Roanoke College I spent one year in Roanoke City Schools as a TA before coming to North Cross. I was actually only hired to teach for one year when Dave Calvert was filling in as Director of the Middle School for Steve Parnes. After that year the other middle school history teacher decided not to return, Dave Calvert went back to teaching, and my position became permanent, and I have been here ever since.
What was it like working with Mr. Calvert?
It was awesome. Dave is such a great guy. He had a great relationship with the kids and he was liked and respected by both the students and the faculty. As a first time teacher he really took me under his wing and helped me become comfortable in the classroom. He is laid back and I felt like our personalities really worked well together. He really was a mentor to me and helped me instill some of the lessons and projects that we still do in my classes today.
What type of projects do you do in middle school history?
Well, one of my favorites, this is the one that Mr. Calvert helped me start, is the sixth grade business project, where the students are responsible for coming up with a product, putting together a business plan, and actually selling their products to other middle school students. Recently it is has taken off and grown drastically. The kids get really excited about it and think of it almost as a competition, and the older students really look forward to the Middle School Mall where the sixth graders sell their products. My favorite project to do with the seventh grade is the family tree project. I started this a few years ago after I found my family tree project from high school. The students are responsible for creating a family tree, writing an autobiography, interviewing three relatives about historic events, and making a scrapbook. The kids are really into it and when we study some of the events that they have interviewed their relatives about it helps them relate to it and they feel like they have personal experience to it. And lastly the project I do with both sixth and seventh grade that is always a hit is the “Peep” project. Right around Easter, when you can buy the Peep marshmallow candies in the store, I assign this project. It is an extra credit project so it isn’t required, but all of students usually do it. They are tasked with creating a historic scene with the peeps. The sixth graders do an event that took place before 1865 and the seventh graders can do any historic event from 1865 to present. The Washington Post has a Peep Contest every year which is where I got the idea, it is definitely a middle school favorite.
What is something that your students would find surprising about you?
Although I don’t coach anymore, I have coached basketball, field hockey, and tennis at North Cross. I actually coached at least one sport a year for over ten years, and won four BRC championships while coaching girls’ tennis.