How My Passion for Education Continues To Be the Driving Force in My Career
One of my fondest memories as a child was when my Dad bought a special green paint that he sprayed on the inside panels of our garage door. Once the paint dried, he handed my sister and me a box of chalk. We suddenly had our very own chalkboard!
At first, the chalkboard was primarily used for drawing purposes. My sister, already a budding artist, used the colors to draw birds, flowers and other beautiful things. But I had a different idea in mind. Using an old child-size table and chairs and gathering left-over items from my classroom teacher and materials I found around our home, I set up a school in my garage.
In short order, I had convinced the neighborhood kids to come over so we could play “school.” Apparently, I was fairly good at it, as one of the neighborhood moms approached me and asked if I would teach her kindergartener to read. I worked with him after school 2-3 times a week. By the end of the year, he was on track with his peers. This was, perhaps, my first teaching job. I was in the third grade.
I have always had a passion for the learner’s experience, from those early days tutoring neighborhood children to now, where I sit in a very different role as the President of Time4Learning, a Cambium Family brand serving the home education market. At Time4Learning, I’m constantly reminded of my driving force, helping parents be the best advocates they can be for their children.
Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with a parent who just began homeschooling her son. Like many families who choose homeschooling, she and her husband were impassioned to create a rich, nurturing environment that would help their child thrive. She commented that the first few months were difficult, as they tried to have him work on his courses during the day, but he just couldn’t sit still. After trial and error, they realized that he was most focused between 6 pm and 8 pm. I applauded them for patiently exploring what worked best for him and gave her some tips on how she could connect with our parent community, a group that would be an ongoing resource to their family.
Post-pandemic, today’s parents are craving more agency over their child’s educational experience. But where they get stuck is in determining how to craft one that aligns with their family values and the hopes and dreams they have for their children. Should they keep their child in a traditional classroom? Should they homeschool their child or enroll them in a virtual school? Could they travel for a period of months or even years and keep their child on grade level? It gives me great joy to see my amazing customer support team guide parents through the process of answering these questions and how our online curriculum offers flexibility and anytime, anywhere learning so that families can create an educational journey that best fits each of their children.
While my job responsibilities in EdTech have changed quite a bit throughout my career, the thread that I continue to weave through each role is my passion for the learner. It was the reason why I started the little school in my garage so many years ago and remains the reason I get up each day, excited about how many more families we can support at Time4Learning with the products and programs we offer.