Blythe Academy of Langauges
1.) Tell us about your role as an educator. What does your typical day look like?
I’m currently serving as the Instructional Coach at Blythe Academy of Languages. As an IC, I have many different hats, but the heart of my role is to coach teachers through a unit or topic of study. While there are days where I may be doing behind the scenes tasks like ordering instructional material for our Immersion teachers, much of time is spent working with teachers through lesson planning, meeting to brainstorm through ideas, and supporting students and teachers in the classroom by being hands-on with activities and teaching.
2.) What’s your education philosophy summed up in one sentence?
All children can learn and all children have strengths, but don’t forget to get to know the child first.
3.) Why did you become an educator?
I became an educator because of those ah-ha moments that I would get from students. It is the most rewarding experience along with the relationship that you build with students in order to turn their lives around or to be a positive impact in their lives. You never know what a child is really going through, even if things look perfect from the outside. As a child, I would put on the façade that things were all well and good, but it was those teachers who took the moment to get to know me who discovered that I was hiding behind a mask. They were able to help me take off my mask and make a difference in my life. I want to have that same impact in students’ lives the same way that certain teachers had in mine.
4.) As an SCASCD Emerging Leader, how do you hope to have a greater effect on education in your community and beyond?
I hope to have the platform to be able to speak to the growing awareness of Mental Health and the importance of educators being aware of any needs they may have as well as their students. I believe that if teachers have this awareness, they could seek counseling or other resources; and as a result, teachers will be able to teach more effectively. Teachers may begin to realize how certain events may be a trigger to them, which causes a block in the effectiveness of their teaching or ability to reach a particular student. Teachers may also become aware of needs that their students have and become sensitive to students’ actions. In increasing this knowledge, I believe that there could potentially be an enormous effect on education, not just in my own community, but definitely beyond.
5.) What types of professional development (books, DVDs, webinars, courses) have made a difference in your career?
The First Days of School
Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me?
The Book Whisperer
Girl, Wash Your Face
EdCamps in North Carolina and South Carolina
Ruby Payne Training
6.) Was there a pivotal moment when you realized your career choice in education was the correct one? Describe that time.
Just one pivotal moment? It’s all the small moments when a student has said things like “I get it now” or “You make it easier” or just a simple “Hi, Mrs. Salvat” when you don’t think they even know your name. It’s the small moments when a student smiles during a small group math lesson and says that they are understanding now or they say they like how I teach. It’s seeing students’ light bulbs come on during a lesson because they are beginning to understand a concept. It’s those side hugs that show that they care about you too. It’s those hand written notes and half used perfume bottle or perfect-to-them rock that they found just for you. It’s those small moments in my career when I continuously realize that my choice to be in education was the correct one.
7.) If you could make one major change in education, what would it be?
Take out the negativity. Make education/teaching/learning something that all other vocations wish they could do or have.
8.) What is your most rewarding experience as an educator?
In my role as an EdCamp Greenville Organizer, working behind the scenes to help a giant learning party come together for educators is the most rewarding experience I’ve had. The actual day of an EdCamp Greenville event, teachers from all around not only learn from each other, but they are spoiled with free food, swag, and prizes. To see teachers smile and have so much fun is priceless. This burst of life that we are able to give educators on this day helps our students as the participants bring energy back to their building or classroom. Attitudes are contagious, and after a day of non-stop fun and learning, the positive vibes are unstoppable. It’s a day to give as much as we can to those fellow educators who are more than deserving and the many hours behind the scenes make that one day so worth it.