I started out like any kid. Filled with wild dreams. I guess I have had my share of challenges but I have been blessed.
I became a high school teacher accidentally, subbing for an elderly lady experiencing dementia, as they called it then. I had never imagined myself as a teacher, but from the time I first stood on that side of the classroom, my commitment to my students has defined my professional life.
From the time I was very young, I sensed the measure of my civic responsibility. In high school I knew I would become an historian. I knew then also that history was vibrant and alive and not dead-time academia. Like a marvelous thriller, its mystery was woven among the conflicts going on all around me, but unlike fiction provided real and long-term excitement. I have felt so since.
As a teenager active in the Boston Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1960’s, I was exposed to the struggle to integrate our cloistered society. Quincy racists in South Boston attacked my mother, and Ralph Abernathy came to our home for dinner. In California I participated in school board and city council elections. I worked with a coalition of church groups helping protect refugees from war-torn Central America. At Pasadena City College, I tutored and counseled immigrants from Southeast Asia. I was a volunteer at Frank G. Lanterman State Hospital.
I spent a few years in Europe. I traveled through the countryside of France and Italy, taking odd jobs and meeting people from those countries as well as from North Africa, Greece, and the Soviet Union. I lived in France and England, working odd laboring jobs with émigrés from all over the continent.
I went to Mexico for a summer; then Alaska for another. I taught kids in La Puente for the Catholic Archdiocese. In Pasadena schools I taught as many as thirty nationalities, balancing class size, languages, and motivation. Teaching is the most exciting thing I have ever done.
I am still a teacher; now at the university level. As a trusted and valued staff member, I teach graduate education classes and feel I am giving back what I learned as a high school teacher. I see myself as an inoculator of sorts, because the drop out rate for new teachers is nearly fifty percent.
And I still love my work.
I have a BA and an MA in American history. I specialized in the history of nuclear weapons and treaties when I was in college.
I teach education classes and specialize in classroom management, pedagogy and planning, and culture and curriculum. I advise and train new teachers K-12.
As a high school teacher I taught American and World History, Government and Economics, Psychology, California History, and chess. I also taught English in grades 9-11.
AP Classes: I taught AP English, AP Government, and AP American History. I also started and coordinated the entire AP Program.
Testing: I have worked in numerous state testing programs.
I tutor privately: English grammar and composition, chess, American and World History, AP Social Studies and English, test preparation, and college application letters.
I read widely and stay current in my fields of study, in education news and theory; in the public debate about education. My colleagues look to me for leadership and guidance, and the students I teach praise me and trust me implicitly. These are rewards I have earned. They have been given to me because I give of myself and I refuse to make judgments. For me, teaching has been a catalyst for learning, and learning is the key to the personal empowerment that will unlock the doors to a better world.