MTBoSBlaugust Post 2: The one with 12 teachers

Did you know I love Tom Brady? Because I do. Today’s his birthday so I wanted to make a list in his honor. Because he’s 38 today and I cannot make that long of a list, I present a list of 12 people (in no particular order) who have been outstanding teachers in some way in my life.

  1. Mrs. May was my 8th grade teacher. Because of her I have always wanted to be an 8th grade teacher. I mean, I teach 8th grade, but not homeroom. Mrs. May always had me do the “teachery things” that now that I have to, I can’t stand doing. I kept records (not grades or anything) for her, did seating charts, helped correct papers, etc. She always knew I would be a teacher. It took me longer to figure out!
  2. Mrs. Prieve was my 3rd grade teacher. I just remember that we had so much fun in her class. She was only there that one year. I’m not sure what we learned – all I can remember is doing a space shuttle project with my friend Meghan.
  3. Mrs. Barboza was the vice principal of my high school. She was the best! We both loved dance and theater so we always connected really well. She was the person who wrote most of my college recs because she always saw the best in me. As a senior I would often be in her office chatting during break in the morning. Eventually she would look at me and say, should you be in class? Then she’d write me a note, and off I would go. I worked in the office of my HS during my college summers and I worked with her a lot. Scheduling was her responsibility. We had a weird schedule. I proofed schedules for her and she said no one could ever do it as well as me 🙂
  4. Mrs. Thomas was the admissions director at my HS. I wasn’t supposed to go the school I went to. There were 2 all girls’ HS in town and I was ALWAYS going to go to the “other” one. In 8th grade I decided that I should at least go to the Open House at the school that would become mine. I fell in love. I felt wanted in the community. At the other school, not so much. It was a pivotal decision in my life (hey – maybe that’s a post for another day!), and I think Mrs. Thomas played a huge part in it. As a student, I was always part of the recruitment team, which she supervised. When I graduated, there was a note on the back of her door that said, “future office of Casey, 20??). Sadly, my HS closed down about 7 years ago. The fact that no more girls get the experience I had is something I still have a hard time with.
  5. Mrs. Greene was a huge part of high school for me. I was her TA for dance, and she was my teacher for dance, drama, choir, and theology. On our senior silent retreat she was also my spiritual director. Here’s the thing though – she terrified me! Don’t get me wrong, I also loved her. The level of respect I had – shoot, still have – for her was like no one else! One of the things I remember most was that junior year I tried out for the musical at the guys’ high school. I didn’t make it (she was the vocal director). She pulled me aside after and gave me feedback. She said, join choir next year and you will make it. I did and I did. Being in choir was the hardest class I took – not because my other classes were easy, but because I wanted nothing more than to make her proud. When auditions came along, sure enough, I made it and had one of the most memorable experiences of my wonderful HS years. She works in the same “district” as I do now, so I still get to see her from time to time. She’s awesome.
  6. Professor Kenney at Boston College was my professor for 2 years straight. My second major, a school of education major, was basically math education (though it had a fancier name). There were about 12 of us in my year in that major. Five of us were super close friends – “the math clique.” I guess that could be considered my first PLN! Anyway, Prof. Kenny guided this tiny group of us through 4 classes. Our whole soph and junior years were spent exploring teaching math with her. I struggled in these classes and constantly had to ask my friend Meg for help. But they were the best classes for so many reasons.
  7. Dan Ponsetto was a chaplain at BC and worked in campus ministry. He was in charge of the mass I went to in the basement of St. Ignatius Church where my friends and I would gather for the college mass on Sunday nights. He was a great guy. When senior year rolled around he was teaching a class called “praying our stories.” With him at the helm, and finally being done with my ed classes and student teaching, I was able to take a class out of the norm. This was the best class. It was basically Dan and about 18 of my friends. He had never taught before, so we were navigating it together. He basically let us make up our own assignments and reflect in ways that were meaningful to us. Our final was a BBQ. It was rad.
  8. Tracy Nelson was an aide at my former school when I first started there. She loves math, so even when she was off the clock she would just hang out in my room and talk math with me and the class. Throughout the last 6 years she has been a strong influence, sounding board, and one of my biggest cheerleaders. She helps me with perspective. Her belief in me and what I do in my classroom is probably a big reason I have made it this long!
  9. Antoinette Perez was the vice principal and 8th grade teacher at my previous school for the first 3 years I was there. We started the same year and the whole middle school was new that year. Although I’d been teaching already for 8 years at the time, I felt like it was my first year all over again – mainly because I was teaching something different. She was the best mentor I could ever have asked for and she continues to be a strong influence and great friend in my life.
  10. Debbie Hurtado is a teacher at a nearby school. We have never taught together, but we have worked together a ton. We were first introduced when a friend of mine left the school I was at and went to the school where Debbie worked. The three of us started collaborating together and then the original connecting friend sort of fell out of the picture. Debbie and I have similar interests, so it became natural for us to collaborate and attend PD together when we can find it! We worked to start a book club together last year, and our “prep” meetings basically became therapy sessions for me during a rough year. I probably wouldn’t have made it through the year without her!
  11. Julie Reulbach’s blog was really the one that I think first started me on reading math blogs. She was the first teacher I followed on twitter. So I’m just gonna “blame” everything else on her. Although we “lost” her from MS, the records in her blog are enough to inspire and keep us MS teachers going. And thanks to Julie, I discovered….
  12. #MTBoS – enough said.
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