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Connected Educator of the Week: Dorina Sackman

1. What is your current job of position?

My current position is Senior Administrator of Professional Development Services for English Language Learners.

2. What is your educational background?

Long Island raised. Commack Public Schools for K-8. St. Anthony’s High School, Huntington, NY for 9-12. Received a B.A. in French and International Economics at Siena College, a certification in French History and Art from the IAU in Aix-en-Provence, France and received a Master’s Degree in Applied Linguistics and Bilingual Education from University of Massachusetts, Boston. I just started my Ph.D in Teacher Leaderhip and Education Policy so as to bring forth the power of educator voices.

3. Describe your educational philosophy and educational vision?

I tell senior interns who do their practicum in my classroom; that there are two types of teachers. First, there is the innate educator; born to educate since day one. It is a predestined position and they are called to do so. Second is the “always wanted to be a teacher” teacher. It is the person who has another career path but somehow, that path leads to a dead end. However, in the back of their heads, they always say, “I think I’d like to try and be a teacher and see what happens…”.

I was the innate teacher. At 6 years old, when I wasn’t wrapped in a white bed sheet with a toilet bowl seat over my head playing “Angels” with my brother and sister, I was writing all over my Dr. Seuss “Snow” book, making assignments for my sister and playing Miss Beetle or Miss Crabtree from our generation’s most beloved television educators. The latter became a part of me; teaching, leading, educating, training from childhood to womanhood.

What I love most about what I do is, as altruistic and cliché as it may seem, I truly feel deep down I am making a difference. Each year, I have 120 at-risk youth, ages 11-13, from all around the world, coming to me at the most crucial time for their young minds. I love making it my mission to empower them to empower themselves.

I love that my classroom is the world – a United Nations where not only do my children learn the English language, but the language of acceptance, compassion, trust, teamwork, friendship, independence, freedom of expression, and hard work. Most importantly, they learn who they are and see a glimpse of the greatness they are to become.

In this world, I can have 17 different countries with 11 different languages being spoken in my classroom. What is important to further explain is how I could have three students from one country speaking three different languages. One of the hardest things to explain to students and teachers, is that just because a student is from Mexico, for example, it doesn’t mean they speak Spanish. This year, my Mexican children spoke Spanish, Nahuatl and Yucatec Maya. My sweethearts from Vietnam tried their best to communicate in Vietnamese but one little girl only spoke Jarai.

These misconceptions can greatly affect a child’s learning both socially and academically. We need to expand our knowledge of each child’s culture. Language to me, is culture, therefore, we have a lot to learn about our children before we begin teaching them. This is where I make a Common Core lesson out of it for students to have a better understanding of their peers and the countries from where they come. I also love doing professional development for teachers on cultural competency and linguistics as it opens windows, doors, vents, and chimneys to the improvement of understanding our children who left their world to come to a new one.

For 16 years, children and adults from around the world have entered my classroom into this “new world”. What I have had the honor, sorrow, shock, anger, and blessing to experience can only be explained through their successes. A girl from Somalia dressed in full Chador, who had her tongue cut out for speaking out in a refusal to marry at 11, came to my classroom. She never wanted to talk or smile. One day I tried to say a Somali Proverb in Arabic. I knew I was wrong in my words and knew the mistake would bring at least a smile. Well, it made her laugh, mouth wide open guffaw. And so trust was born and learning began. She has since graduated and went on to college.

A boy from Haiti, left school after first grade to work with his father, came to my classroom after the earthquake took every member of his family but an auntie in the States. While other teachers thought him “not teachable”, four of us begged to differ. He is now thriving at a 6th grade reading level and I continued to work with him until this honor was bestowed upon me. This young man is off to high school with the hopes of graduating to become (tears in 3… 2… 1…) a teacher.

Finally, though I wish I could tell all of their stories, the one that hit me deepest is my princesses from Bangladesh. These sisters walked into my classroom with the most beautiful yellow and lace hejabs and gorgeous crooked smiles of yellowed, neglected teeth. Our relationships  blossomed through my “kooky” teaching style and finding out our shared love for Indian Films – especially Shahrukh Khan in the classic Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.  Through the subtitles and staying after school for hours on end to watch the films and learn English, in two years, these funny, talented and determined young ladies scored perfect scores on the writing portion of their standardized exam. Their parents’ appreciation of my love for them and their education was beyond their imagination when coming to America. It is the ultimate compliment for a female American educator. Presently, they are both at universities studying medicine and finance.

These, among many other stories, I believe answer the question and solidify Malala Yousafzai’s peaceful but powerful urging, “Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One teacher, one book, one pen, can change the world.”

This is my education vision. May teachers see that our profession is so much. it is my passion. A calling. Responsibility. Love. Love for those faces that I see every day. Love for their cultures that fuels me with a strong desire to know more; not for me per se, but for my students. It’s for them that I educate myself… so I have the ammunition to inform the curious or “innocently ignorant” of the various cultures joining our communities. However, it’s imperative that my mission to raise this kind of awareness be heard by the “arrogantly ignorant”, that unfortunate, increasing number of individuals who choose not to learn about the beauty of diversity, and embracing difference. This drives me. If I educate children to communicate in English while still celebrating EVERY SINGLE ONE of their cultures, they too, will become fueled by knowledge and armed with a voice. No one can take that from them and one can take the passion out of a teacher. No one but ourselves.

4. Describe your experiences as “Teacher of the Year.”

Since I just wrote a book on the third question, I try and not go overboard on my enthusiasm for my time as Florida Teacher of the Year. Representing my state and all the 189, 000+ teachers is the most incredible honor. When chosen as FLTOY, I knew this journey was going to be one with all teachers. Therefore, everything I did, everywhere I went, everything I said was 100% with my fellow colleagues in mind. After all, you were chosen to represent all teachers, and I wanted all teachers to come along with me on my journey. I would make videos of every event and record myself shouting out to all the teachers so they knew it was never about Dorina Sackman, but about US, the Florida Teachers!

I visited 48 of the 72 counties (and I am still visiting!) of the Sunshine State and learned a great deal about Florida. I learned each county is a different culture within itself, the further north you go the more people refer to Florida as “Southern Georgia”, the further south you go, the further away it is being considered a  “southern” State, there really are so many fellow New Yorkers in Florida and some how, when you catch their eye, they give this look and a nod as if to say, “Yeah, you’re one of us.” I learned how vast the Florida land is and that there are more cows and farms than I thought. When regard to education, it is amazing how supportive and dedicated Florida teachers are…and their hospitality is worthy of it’s own Guide to Welcoming Guests Show.

I traveled to various states with the incomparable 2014 State Teachers of the Year who have become my lifelong friends. I have participated in intense debates about the Common Core/Florida Standards and advocated for equal opportunity for all students regardless of socioeconomic or linguistic backgrounds. I was so happy to meet the Secretary of Education of talk candidly about the future of education Going to Washington and meeting the President was absolutely amazing, but taught a big lesson; live more in the moment. Step back and see yourself there, or it will be a fleeting one. Such was my experience in Washington. It is just amazing how much I have grown.I was honored to become one of four National Finalists for National Teacher of the Year and have my work as an educator be featured and celebrated with the other incredible STOYs at a Gala in Washington. It was one of the highlight of my teaching career!

There is so much more to say but truly the greatest experience has been meeting the other State Teachers of the Year. My respect and admiration for all of these incredible educators is hard to describe in words (and that seems ironic coming from this chatterbox). However, sometimes, it is simply one word that can sum up all emotions. In this case it is, “unforgettable.”

5. How do you grow and engage your professional learning network?

I use twitter a a lot. I also attend a lot of conferences and get myself trained in a lot of professional development. Whether online or in person, kudos to my District, Orange County Public Schools, for having a non stop list of PD. Attending these, even virtually, you are out there. I also join a lot of organizations, ASCD, SSTESOL, TESOL, NABE, FABE just to name a few. Also, never ever be afraid to speak. As a result of speaking up at a recent conference, I was invited to attend two conferences/committees/National Councils on Second Language Acquisition, one in Princeton New Jersey and the other in Las Vegas, Nevada. The experiences I will gain with these incredible scholars, policy makers and educational policy advocates will be incredible.

6. What is the greatest benefit of your professional network?

Learning. Growing. Feeling valued. Knowing my words resonate with so many. Being asked to speak at events and conferences to further empower teachers. Knowing that I am not alone in this fight called Public Education and the Integrity of the Teacher.

7. If you blog, what is the focus of it? How long have you been writing? Who is your audience?

I started to blog. I mean to blog. I bought a domain and thought I was going big time with my own site would pay for all the bells and whistles to make it the blog of Florida Education! I blogged like crazy about 6 months. And then, one day, I forgot blog. A week when by, then another, and another. When I felt inspired to get back into sharing my thoughts, I went to my fancy expensive site. Seems I neglected to pay for my my domain and it all went away. All of it. I waited too long and tried to be too fancy. oral of the story…words are and should be free. So get a free blogspot, nothing fancy and write everything in Word or GoogleDocs first, save it, then cut and paste. That way, free or not, you have a backup.K.I.S.S. method, my friends. Keep It Simple Sackman.

Now, this is my new site: and I’m ready to get up and start blogging about everything and anything in education.:)

8. How do you use social media to connect with other educators? What is your advice to teachers on social media and education?

EDMODO: Used it, loved it but expanded my tech horizons and found it limited. When used properly, it is an incredible classroom tool. When overly used, it can be misused and misunderstood. I loved it in my classroom for all communication, postings, announcements, brag walls, events, parent involvement and great data for parent teacher conferences. However, I have outgrown it.

FACEBOOK: Before becoming FLTOY, I connected with my colleagues and teacher friends through my personal facebook page. How funny, that even there, put teachers together and a video of a cat missing it’s mark when jumping from the car to the deck turns into a teachable moment or metaphor for education. That is when I thought about a FB page for Florida Educators. I didn’t follow through until becoming FLTOY and now it is up to 1717 lovers of education that follow! I used to use it as a place to showcase a day in the life of a FLTOY until I saw it as a wonderful way for educators to come together. I ask questions and encourage others to post things that are going on in their districts. This way, we can use Facebook as a way to learn from one another, vent to one another, and brainstorm together; all in the name of success for kids!

TWITTER: Where should I start about TWITTER? I was 100% anti twitter before becoming FLTOY. I thought it was a place for celebrities, trolls and Miley Cyrus types to vent and spew out negativity in 140 characters or less. MY GOSH was I wrong. After hearing about Twitter at a State Teacher of the Year Conference in Arizona this past January, I became a twitter fan! I had no idea the amount of information, resources, motivation, inspiration, help, encouragement, research…etc. that would be on Twitter. From 5:30am inspirational chats to start your day, to edchats from different states and countries, there is a hashtag and group for everyone. I had no idea how strong and determined teachers are in Ireland about the integrity of their profession or how teachers from Turkey are looking for better ways to serve students in English ans a Foreign Language…all because of Twitter! I began to network and reach out to people with whom I felt and educational connection. Now, not only do I consider them colleagues and friends, we are writing blogs and articles together, even making plans to visit one another’s school districts! I slowed down my Twitter a bit because it can get very addicting. So, I allocate Twitter time in my day as a form of my own PD and PG (personal growth). It’s a great balance and when given the chance, I train teachers how to use it for effective lessons, PLCs and communication. Using Twitter as a “Homework” tool is my favorite tech tool for Middle school kids by the way, but that’s another blog all together!  The following is what I have learned on TWITTER that I feel could help many teachers:

VOXER: I am still learning the benefits of this tech tool. I only wish I had more on board to use it. There are such GREAT resources out there to help educators see how to implement voxer into their PLCs and daily lives. This is my new challenge and I love it.

INSTAGRAM: I encourage all teachers to have a class Instagram account. It is am amazing collaborative tool where kids can use their creativity, work on their own time, incorporate their digital native lives into the classroom and help document and tell a story for the school year. It is more than just pictures. It is, with the parent’s, student’s and school’s permission, a tool for flipped classrooms, posting homework and thought provoking essential questions, project based learning and most importantly, for student autonomy. Give them the tech and they will fly!

GOOGLEDOCS: I’ve been using Google Docs for such a long time. I never have to worry about where anything is. Considering I am the Tasmanian Devil on a Double Espresso when I teach or present, to have all my presentations, documents, data, research in one place at all times is LIFE SAVING.

TEACHING CHANNEL: The best resource I have EVER come across. I’ve never learned more on a site, gained more insight or improved my teaching than I have with Teaching Channel. Just go on it, and play…and you’ll see two hours later, you come out empowered.

My advice to teachers is to USE Social Media. Our babies are digital natives. they are born with IPADs in their hands. For us to not use it in our teaching could be a recipe for disengagement. However, social media, like technology, should be embedded in classroom, curriculum and conversations, not just used as a supplemental tool. There is a big difference. It must be done with fidelity, consistency and with true knowledge (with backup of data and research as to how and why it works in the classroom). Otherwise, it can crash and burn quickly and be misinterpreted by administrators or parents who, like many adults, don’t see the incredible resource social media is to the learning process. Get out there and learn about how to have it as a part of you and your classroom, learn well, implement, teach others, then learn some more!

9. What advice in general do you have to teachers today?

Recently, I gave a motivational speech to teachers in Florida. I used the concept of Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” (watch his Ted Talk!) and reminded teachers to know “why” the became a teacher in the first place. With over testing, implementation of New Standards in our states, new evaluations, (and, in my opinion, big businesses poking their noses, noticing that education is now the “it” “cha-ching” business in which to invest), there are so many factors that can cloud a teacher’s soul. I told the teachers that living in a big city is similar to teaching. When you are in a city on a clear night, and you look up at the stars, you can barely see them. The stars are dimmed by the artificial light of all the city lights. This artificial light doesn’t allow you to see the true glow of the natural light of these stars (science teachers, don’t kill my metaphor and tell me that stars are nothing but a dying luminous sphere of plasma burning to its end..go with me here, ok?). This artificial light is the aforementioned (factors). The teachers are the stars. We shine, we are beautiful, unique and when together, form amazing things! There are so many stars, some shining brighter others, and that it natural, it is their time to shine. Soon, other starts will be even more brilliant but the constant is that through the clouds and artificial light, they are always there. Teachers, do not let the artificial light dim your brilliance. Others know, to seek out the true beauty of a star, one must seek out a place where no artificial light can hinder its shine. Teachers, do the same and  let your soul be the Montana open sky for all students to see, clear, brilliant, open, raw and vulnerable. Although exciting, never let it be like L.A. where all those factors prevent you from illuminating your true vividness thus making others happy. Find your why,and shine brightly. No one can take that from you. You are all stars!

10. Describe a teacher who has had a significant impact on your professional development?

As the Florida Teacher of the Year and one of four National Finalists, I have been incredibly honored to work with 50+ state teachers of the year. I cannot begin to express how each and every STOY has impacted my life in some way. To prove this, although this is long, I think it is important to see HOW MUCH this teacher of the year experience has changed me for the an educator and a woman.

Alabama: Alison Grizzle has taught me to have strength in my beliefs but learning how to speak firmly with eloquence to those who “make the decisions” in education.

Alaska: Denise Lisac. How to balance life. As teachers we are constantly thinking of others. She taught me how to find my hobbies and passions and although praises me for incorporating them into my lessons and classrooms, to have “hidden ones” that separate you from your teacher world. She is so right on this!

Arizona: Beth Hutchins Maloney (@DaringToTeach) 1s the teacher you want for your child. She is unique, strong, a fighter and will give your child the most rigorous and incredibly engaging school experience. I am inspired how she infuses he incredible teaching into her everyday life. When you talk to her, you are always learning.

Arkansas: Jonathan Crossley (@JonCrossley_AR) One of the most incredible stories of courage and determination to become a successful educator. His story should be a movie for all kids to see and become inspired to follow in his footsteps to excellence.

California: Tim Smith.That kindness wins, always. No matter how frustrated you can get, always be the kind one and you will be victorious.

Colorado:  My friend for life, Elizabeth Miner. A woman who took PE and made it into a movement. Her inner strength is something I strive to have.

Connecticut: John Mastroianni. The heart of teaching is in the heart of the man. I have never met a music teacher more loving and passionate about music in schools. He keeps me fighting for the arts every time he opens his mouth.

Delaware: Lea Wainright is a woman of change for the use of foreign language in the school systems and reminds me why I originally wanted to teach French. She takes an already beautiful language and makes it into historical lessons that not only make you fall in love with French, but with all cultures.

D.C.: Bill Day. He has transformed young men into thinking Intelligence is for geeks and that being smart is the new cool, the legit swag.

Florida (@2014FloridaTOY)

Georgia: Jemelleh Coes To keep the integrity of the teaching profession, one must dress like a professional. Every morning I want to be a frump, I am reminded by this class act of an ESE teacher to dress for success, we are teachers!

Hawaii: Matt Lawrence. Even when you think you don’t fit in, when you teach from your soul, you will always fit in in the heart of a child. He also let me know that traditional roles of man and women in the household go out the door when you live in Hawaii! Howzzit?

Idaho: Jamie Esler is a proud teacher and extremely proud of his state. I am in awe of his knowledge on his state politics and applaud his belief in properly representing his profession. I have learned to study more about my state’s stance on education through this wonderful teacher.

Illinois:Pam Reilly. Never EVER stop fighting for what you believe.And that, although your journey may take you away from teaching, know that the true victory of being a STOY is not some position downtown, but the classroom waiting for your return.

Indiana: Steve Perkins. Where do I start? This man has taught me so much about educational policy and how to effectively advocate for kids, blog, and made LATIN the coolest language to teach, ever.

Iowa: Jane Schmidt recently took on the role of ESOL Director of professional growth and student learning, a topic she is unfamiliar but is doing it like a BOSS, proving, teachers, like her, are resilient and we must always welcome change to be the change we want to see in education!

Kansas: Jeff Baxter: Please, watch Amazing Teacher Podcast with Jeff Baxter, and you too, will amazed by this brilliant man. He changed the face of “seasoned teachers” for me forever.

Kentucky: Holly Bloodsworth is a woman who needs to be cloned and put into every school. He BRILLIANCE in making teachers and others feel comfortable and alive is ever present in her classroom as well. She is the teacher everyone wants to be.

Louisiana: She taught me that you can be a strong presence in a room without having to say a word. This I have taken with me and have become a better girlfriend, teacher, professional, daughter, sister, friend and advocate.

Maine: Karen MacDonald.She taught me the power of research. Every word out of her mouth is from a finding, reading, data or research. She has encouraged me to back up my words with noted knowledge.

Maryland: Sean McComb This man challenged me in more ways than anyone. He helped me see a side of  myself I didn’t like and I quickly learned how to admit it, see it, solve it and change it. I am all the better because of being side by side with him (and two others, as a National Finalist and grow). I am more than blessed to call him friend.

Massachusetts: Anne Marie Osheyack. A great teacher and a fighter who NEVER gives in when it comes to her students, this woman taught me how to stick to my guns and not “drink the Kool-Aid” even when it seems the best to do so in education.

Michigan: because of Gary Abud Jr. I am no longer afraid of technology. Because of this man, I could answer #8 with confidence and true knowledge. He has also taken STEM and made it a passion of mine, particularly STEM education for girls. Thank you, Gary.

Minnesota: Megan Olivia Hall made me LOVE science and to not be afraid to use science in my classroom. She is an incredible conversationalist that can go from the love of her children to the Common Core and purple cabbage being used in her class for a biology experiment and you are hooked!

Mississippi: Josh Lindsey. Faith, passion, teaching, sports (in that order) makes a successful teacher. With his frustrations about his state, I was in awe of his candid talks that got many thinking. He is such an inspiration to me that I am actually cheering for Ole Miss in college football (not Mississippi State: he only gets one from this Noles fan!) 🙂

Missouri: Jamie Manker taught me hands down that teaching is the highest profession. For those who want to get higher in education, Jamie showed me the highest place to be is And that is where she is brilliant.

Montana: Ana East Baldwin. This women has shown me what true dedication is, working on a reservation and serving our true American people. She reminds me about the beauty of simplicity and the complexity of preserving truth in culture and history.

Nebraska: Kristi Bundy has taught me the importance of knowing who you are at all times. With such a strong sense of self, Kristi is a constant reminder of to thine own self be true, in and out of the classroom!

Nevada: Jeff Hinton. This man showed me how teachers SHOULD be our political leaders. He left teaching (in a classroom) to teach others how an educator is the true advocate for the people!

New Hampshire: What can I say about Joey Lee except never ever stop loving what you do, learning as you do it and that the people of New Hampshire define community!

New Jersey: Kathy Assini. This women is tough as nails with a heart of gold. She will give her car to you, her shirt off her back simply because her nature is to help. She taught me about Vulnerability more than Brene Brown and her advocacy for drug addiction has pushed me to do more in my community.

New Mexico: Is it possible for humans to be art within themselves? Carolyn Torres is a piece of walking art, she is the kindest soul that taught me to be nothing but myself. Her acceptance of me for who I am stood out more than any other and I am forever grateful.

New York: Asli Skura Dreher. (@Ashli190) This woman helped me appreciate my life. I should have listened to her on more than one occasion about my future in education. She is a savvy woman who is the epitome of don’t judge a book by its cover.

North Carolina: Karyn Collie Dickerson.This woman taught me an incredible lesson. Sometimes, out of nervousness and not feeling confident about a subject, I tend to talk too much…a nervous energy. Watching he speak/teach, I learned to breathe and that less is more, especially when you know what you are talking about. I truly hopes she goes into politics in her state. She is the voice of teachers.

Ohio: Deb Widmer McDonald. Here is woman who knows the meaning of balancing family and her love of teaching. She has taught me that stages in life are natural and it is ok, you don’t have to always be running in a race. She is my favorite song, Billy Joel’s song “Vienna” and teaches me to slow down, in the classroom and out.

Oklahoma: Peter Markes, like Connecticut has and will continue to transform the arts in education. He is an accomplished musician that always reminds people, no matter how difficult our profession can get, that there is a song to be played to make it all better, even if for awhile. He is a walking melody and children are lucky to have him as their music teacher.

Oregon: Brett Bigham, remember that name, a man who is an inspiration to so many and has already transformed so many lives in the LGBT community. He is a fighter and someone who believes that his students, children and adults with disabilities are truly children and adults with abilities, when one believes in them.

Pennsylvania: Ryan Devlin, a man with a 100% paperless classroom who has helped me infuse his genius ideas to my classroom and PD, took a chance…a big chance and will now be teaching in Australia next year with an incredible Principal we met at Space Camp, Kate Smith. He is my little brother who I will love like such for the years to come. Google him, and see why he was a National Finalist!

Rhode Island: Pat Paige is a brilliant speaker/teacher and has taught me the same as Maine. She has also encouraged me to reach for my goals of teaching at the University level. She questions everything and will always advocate for quality education.

South Carolina: Darleen Sutton. I am inspired by this woman’s story of why she believes so strongly in literacy. She taught me that everyone should tell their stories and when they do, others will become inspired to do more, for themselves and others. I am forever grateful this woman came into my life (she also helped me overcome my silly and somewhat stereotypical ignorance about Southern accents. Her strong southern accent mean incredible intelligence and this New Yorker could truly use some of that sound in my speaking. I am forever changed.)

South Dakota: LuAnn Lindskov is a Math and Science teacher who uses her brains and her strong faith to make for an incredible learning experience, faith in students, the education system, the community and her colleagues. The other faith of which she holds dear is what has made me look at my own and I am forever grateful for her kindness and genuine warmth. When she walks into a classroom, the world gets calmer. 🙂

Tennessee: Like California and Kansas, Wanda Lacey is about kindness and the power of a “seasoned teacher”. I have learned so much about the woman I wish to be in the future (in my life and my classroom) from this incredible teacher.

Texas: Monica Washington (@TexasTOY2014) is the real deal. She is a real teacher with a passion for learning and loving life. I have never met someone more positive. She may be tiny but she has a lion’s courage.

Utah: Alison Parker Riddle is a true teacher. When I see her in her videos, I want every teacher to see what effective, powerful, rigorous teaching is about. She is a strong woman and an incredible mother.

Vermont: There are some teachers that leave an impact on you, a teacher you didn’t expect would. Lucas Foley is that teacher. His incredibly innovative and dedicated style of teaching…infusing real world whilst out in the real world has made me rethink my future as a city girl. I am honored to hear him speak about educational issues and fascinated by his views, of which have become part of me.

Virginia: Melissa Porfirio. A deserving finalist and a forever friend. Her background in social work helped me wake up to some social issues that I now do PD on and has made all the difference in so many educators. What a woman.

Washington: Katie Brown has taught me to speak without fluff. She is a what you see what you get woman, so much so, Bill Gates had her in his video on Teacher Leadership with him. She exudes confidence and has taught me to be better organized in and out of the classroom.

West Virginia: Erin Lloyd Sponaugle. Without a doubt, she has taught me that silence is golden and that you never really know someone until THEY are ready to show you. Brilliant woman!

Wisconsin: Jane McMahon, when not teaching should be a radio host, as he voice is a beautiful reminder of someone who cares and loves her students. She is a firm speaker who makes the most out of every situation, always staying positive.

Wyoming: Every needs to watch this man teach. Everyone. That’s it.  Mick Weist.

Marianna Islands: A true friend Paul Miura is an inspiration on so many levels. This man has teaching as a third profession and is the epitome of what our students needs to see and learn from someone out in the business world. With more teachers like him, our college and career readiness can become REAL to students, FBL (future business leader) students would be able to their future in the business world  by hearing it from someone who was in it. His giving personality is infectious and knows how to teach hard as well as enjoy life harder! 🙂

American Samoa: Claire Marisse Bacus. Here is a woman, rich in tradition and culture that battles with her society as she tries to modernize education and the ideology of so many in American Samoa. Single handedly she is fighting the fight for education reform all in the name of quality and equal education for her students, her people and ALWAYS with a smile!

Virgin Islands: Shabre Providence: Like Claire, she is an incredible advocate for improving education in the Islands and improving the lives of so many. If you meet her, you will feel her calm presence and strong will. Like a mama bear to her cubs, I learned how one woman can truly make a difference on an island that isn’t willing to change.

11. What book would you recommend to teachers?

  • Dweck, Mindset

  • Draper, Out of My Mind

  • Palmer, The Courage to Teach

  • Wagner, The Global Achievement Gap

  • The One World Schoolhouse, Khan

  • Price, Well Said!

  • Sinek, “Start with Why”

12. What are you thoughts on My Town Tutors? Have you ever tutored or do you know teachers who tutor?

To pay for my Master’s Degree, I used to work at Ann Taylor in Prudential Center in Boston. As a result, I gained clients, wealthy Bostonian women who trusted me to go into their closets and revamp their wardrobes. Yes, I did that before Kim Kardashian ever did. Although lucrative, I was bored. I felt like I wasn’t making a difference except helping wealthy women spend their money. On the weekends, I taught English at the First Brazilian Baptist Church of Greater Boston. I helped the adults coming from Brazil and differentiated their learning via their jobs. I created English lessons for the cooks, the Dunkin’ Donuts girls, the house cleaners, the painters and the nannies. I broke it down on those who had a formal education and those with truly interrupted education and made my classes based on this data. Although this was free (at first), I saw it so much more rewarding and decided to take a change and change my way of funding my Applied Linguistics Degree at UMASS, Boston.

I became a tutor.

It was here that I knew, teaching, helping, empowering, educating and English as a Second language was my true passion. I tutored adults, children, international students, students in need of the TOEFL and even 80 year old couples in my senior courses simply because their dream was to learn English. So it was tutoring that lead me to teaching. Now teaching has brought me back to tutoring.

Throughout my time as an educator in Massachusetts, I tutored many students in the MCAS, specifically the writing and reading. Through word of mouth, parents from all around the Boston area would hear about my engaging strategies to help students write effectively. It is true, parents trusts teachers, and Mark, I think you are genius for putting this together. When I moved to Florida, I supplemented my Florida teacher’s salary with working at the two Community Colleges. From this experience, the parents taking my EAP courses would ask me if I could tutor their children. Once again, teaching brought me back to tutoring.

With Teacher of the Year, I finally stopped tutoring but encourage every teacher to reach out and let parent’s and the community know your strengths.You can help so many with tutoring, not just students and parents, but your fellow teachers. That moment that child becomes empowered by your dedicated work to them, they will come into the classroom a different child. That is so much more rewarding than dressing wealthy women on Marlborough Street. 🙂

There are so many teachers out there that tutor. I will use my FLTOY Facebook Page to reach out to all the educators and encourage them to participate in My Town Tutors. May you grow so the confidence of our students may grow!