About Me

Writer. Teacher. Storyteller.
Every word, every life, every story matters.

I am a writer.

Whether I’m writing a book, a blog post, or content for clients, I look for that golden thread that weaves itself through all the elements. I call it my “Ah ha!” moment—the moment when everything comes together and I can see the entire tapestry, not just the individual threads.

I am a teacher.

As a teacher, my first job is to be a student. If I learn from everyone and every situation, I can take that knowledge and those experiences and share what I have learned with others. I look at my role as more of a collaborator and facilitator. This is true whether I’m in the classroom, at home with my children, writing, or podcasting: We are all in this together!

I am a storyteller.

Stories, more than anything else, are what unites us as people. A good story can entertain us, yes, but a good story teaches, motivates, enthralls. It makes us feel. It brings us to our knees. It inspires us to become better people. A good story in the hands of a good storyteller can change the world.

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18 Comments

  1. A beautiful story about Nicole and I am fortunate that I had the great honor to have been part of it. You and Nicole are so blessed to have each other.

  2. I congratulate you !!! My daughter is a middle school English and she and her fellow teachers will be faced with decisions as see it…sooner rather than later. Good luck to you and your family; my prayers are with you.
    Stewart Lee

  3. Resigned at the end of 2012 with the introduction of Common Core to my 16 EIP students. What a disaster to begin with students who were already failing CRCT in almost every area.

  4. Pauline, I so applaud your courage and for sharing your story. I am a former middle and high school Latin teacher who left the profession in 2008 when I decided to become a full-time Academic Life Coach.

    It was a huge leap for me, leaving the stability of a full-time teaching gig to jump into an emerging field, but 5 years later, I know I made the right choice.

    I can’t tell you how heartening and encouraging it is to have you voice so powerfully your ideas and commitment to education being more than just academics but to the whole child.

    Thank you for the work and writing that you do.

  5. Glad I found your blog. I am so sick of the standardized testing and preparation leading up to the testing these days. All my daughter seems to do in school is prep for testing. It really is sad! Glad you had the courage to stand up and call out all that is wrong with the system. As you can see, there are a lot of other people that feel the same and will stand behind you in this! Melissa Gibbs, Fort Worth TX

  6. I have sat and read all your articles and I am filled, inspired and blessed. I am a teacher in Jamaica and we are faced with the same challenges of preparing students for standardized tests. This can be very overwhelming for some of our students as they are all different.
    I am so touched by the strength of your son and you. I am faced with one student who had cancer and had to remove his arm. The strength that you have has given me the courage to do more and try to let my voice be heard as Franklin said, there are three types of people. I know that I am a “mover” and you have certainly given the courage and drive to let my voice be heard.

    1. Bill,
      Thank you for your question. It seems like a simple question, but there are multiple layers to the answer.
      First, let me assure you that I am not opposed to testing. I gave tests to my students all the time. What I’m opposed to is high-stakes standardized tests that do not help education in the slightest. When I tested my students, I and they received immediate feedback. I knew what each child knew and didn’t know; I knew if I needed to reteach something to the class or if a child needed individual instruction. I knew if I created a bad question and/or bad answers because my students could discuss them with me. The high-stakes tests, however, told my students and me nothing. They are not allowed to talk about the tests; I am not allowed to look at the tests; we cannot see why answers were wrong or what they needed to do to fix it. The worst part about it was that the little feedback I did receive I didn’t get back until those students were no longer my students. At the earliest, I would get test results back in late summer, and the only feedback I would receive was “missed a reading comprehension question” or something similar. I hope you can see that I can do little with that information as a teacher. Even if these state tests were the most valid assessments out there (which they never are), that would be an invalid test because I can do nothing with the “data” collected. I won’t even get into the time, money, and resources wasted on these tests, since those sentiments won’t answer your question.
      Second, the best way to make sure students are getting a valuable education is by hiring and keeping quality teachers. Tests do not teach students; teachers do. Teachers need to be trusted to do the job they were hired to do. If a teacher is found to be doing a poor job (which, by the way, we don’t need state standardized tests to discover who those teachers are), then an administrator needs to fire the teacher or, more appropriately, get that teacher the support he or she needs to improve. Let’s face it, teaching is a difficult job–actually not even a job–it’s a calling. If someone has been called to be a teacher then he or she deserves the respect and time needed to turn him or her into a master teacher.
      Third, there is no way to actually quantify learning. The best lessons I learned throughout my education were not the facts I could write down on a piece of paper. It wasn’t until I was much older that facts and knowledge became important to me. Throughout high school, the best lessons I learned had to do with becoming a functioning human being. I had amazing teachers who became my role models for the type of person and teacher I wanted to be, and I had horrible teachers that showed me who I didn’t want to be. I learned about work ethic, social interactions, self-respect and respect for others. I was a mediocre student in high school, but that’s okay because I am an above average adult and a master teacher now. I love learning; I love writing; I love encouraging others. It is my enthusiasm for education that makes me a high quality teacher now, not just my quantifiable knowledge. I can teach everything I know to my students and some will take the majority of it in and others will remember none of the knowledge. What they do remember, however, is how much I love learning, how much I care about my students, and how I encouraged them to be the best they can be. What they learn in high school is about so much more than quantifiable knowledge; enthusiasm, self-respect, and hope cannot be quantified.

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