Thank You For Being Such A Vital Part Of Our Team, Madison. We Look Forward To Sharing More About You So Others Can Get To Know You Better!
What or who inspired you to pursue your career?
I am originally from Rochester, Minnesota, and I come from a very big and loving family. I am the oldest of 7 total children, and truthfully, I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. There was a short time in the third grade where I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian but that quickly faded when I went along to the actual vet for our family dog. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin where I did my student teaching and was able to tutor and nanny in Madison while I went to school. After college, I got my first teaching position in a 4th-grade classroom in Milwaukee. I learned a TON, to say the least. After my first year, I moved down to Chicago and got a job teaching middle school social studies where I still work today! I absolutely love my career and all of the challenges and rewards that it provides.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career?
Although I knew I wanted to be a teacher ever since I was a little girl, my fifth-grade teacher is really the person that solidified that dream for me. When I was 10, I thought she was simply the kindest, smartest, funniest, and coolest person I knew and I wanted to be just like her. Later, during my senior year in high school, I was able to revisit her class as an intern through a senior career program at my school. I would go to her fifth-grade classroom for an hour or two every week and that’s when I really found out how special of a teacher she was. I learned that when I was her student that it was actually her first year of teaching and that she had “no idea what she was doing.” From her, I learned that you didn’t need to be a perfect teacher to make a lifelong impression, you just need to be a good person.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My mom is one of the absolute greatest people in my life. She has always been a force of nature that specializes in loving and caring for all of her children. During high school I went through a pretty severe patch of depression that caused me miss quite a bit of school and socialization with my friends. Rather than punish me for my dropping grades or pushing me back into things before I was ready, my mom patiently encouraged me and supported me. With out her gentle nudges and shoulder to lean on, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today.
Share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started teaching/tutoring.
My entire first year of teaching was pretty interesting and incredibly challenging! I worked as a 4th-grade teacher in a low-low-income neighborhood school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I had 33 students in my class with new students coming and leaving constantly throughout the year. Nearly all of my students were far below grade level with reading and math and many had behavioral challenges. During that year, I experienced students physically trying to hurt me, cursing at me, we had a very real lockdown drill due to violence happening between families in front of the school, and I also still managed to continue to love teaching. I nearly quit 3 separate times, but my love for the career and students was greater than the challenge!
What do you enjoy most about teaching/tutoring?
My favorite thing about teaching and tutoring is that no day is the same. Every day has its own challenges and rewards! With each lesson, my students and I both learn something new; whether it’s new academic content or something new about each other. Not every day is extraordinary, but I do get to smile and laugh every day at work – and not everyone can say that!
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love to get outside with my family! My daughter is only 9 months old right now but when it is nice out my partner and I love to take her on long walks by the lake and bring a picnic. Cooking and exercising are my outlets to release stress and keep my mind sharp and active. When I feel like turning my brain off I love to play sudoku or watch old episodes of Modern Family!
Tell about an amazing trip you took. Where did you go and what did you enjoy most?
The greatest adventure I ever took wasn’t necessarily a “trip” or vacation, but it was a semester abroad in college. I had the opportunity to live and study in Aix en Provence in southern France. I took French all throughout high school and college so all of my classes were taught in French at a nearby university in town. While I was there, I lived with some French students and other Americans that I had never met. Some of us became very close and were able to travel around Europe together. During my 5 months there, I traveled all around France and visited 5 other countries. I was able to learn and see so much and am so grateful for that experience. I also formed some life long friends!
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? What is it and why did it resonate with you?
I am a huge Harry Potter nerd! I read every book as it came out and try to re-read the entire series every few years. I love all 7 of the books, however, Chamber of Secrets (the second book) has a very special place in my heart. This was the first chapter book I read independently when I was 8 and I was so enchanted by the whole story and proud of myself for achieving this new challenge. Today, of the entire series I would have to say my favorite is Half-Blood Prince but it changes with each re-read 🙂
The road to success is difficult and requires tremendous dedication. What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
I think the best piece of advice/words of wisdom that I have are “you can do hard things.” At every stage in your life, in every aspect of life, you will experience “hard things.” When I am doing a really tough workout, I need to remind myself that I am getting stronger through the struggle. When I have a challenging day at work, I know that I am growing from new experiences. By encouraging yourself to look at challenges through a growth mindset, you will realize that you are capable of doing and finishing hard things!
Is there a person in the world with whom you would love to have a private lunch and why? He/she might just see this! 🙂
I would have a private lunch with the one and only, Taylor Swift. I am a HUGE fan of her and her music and would love to learn more about her storytelling and writing experiences. I would also love to ask her about all of the Hollywood and celebrity secrets that she knows about. I am convinced that we could be best friends.