Life Before Becoming an Educator
I was born in Hammond, Indiana. When I was three years old my mother and father moved to San Diego. I have lived in America's Finest City ever since. I was raised in the community of Clairemont and attended Andersen Elementary, Hale Junior High School, and Madison High School. At Madison H.S. I played varsity soccer for three years. My interest in soccer led me to attend the San Diego Community Colleges, Mesa and City. I played two years of soccer at City College. After receiving my Associate Degree in the Social Sciences from the San Diego Community Colleges I transferred to San Diego State University (SDSU). At SDSU I focused on completing my BA in the Social Sciences. I graduated from SDSU in December of 1993.
After graduating from SDSU I decided to take some time to travel. My first destination was South Carolina, where my father and uncle offered to give me a job as a farmhand. My father is a hog farmer and my uncle had a 2,000 acre farm which produced corn, wheat and soybeans. I spent 6 months there. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I enjoyed the work and my travels throughout the South. At the end of my stay my father gave me a 1981 Datsun King Cab truck, which he had purchased at a farm auction for $500.00. That was my transportation back across the United States to San Diego.
Upon arriving in San Diego I took the money I had earned farming and flew to Costa Rica, Central America. I went alone, only knowing basic Spanish and having a few phone numbers of friends' relatives. I spent three months traveling throughout the country meeting people, learning the Spanish language, and surfing. It was the greatest experience of my life.
On my return from Costa Rica I decided it was time to begin my studies to become a teacher. Teaching history had always been what I wanted to do for a career. My fascination with history began in 7th grade. I remember how the Greeks and Romans captivated my mind. That was when I decided I was going to be a teacher. During my college years I worked at Pacific Beach and De Portola Middle Schools as a teacher's assistant. My experience as a teacher's assistant provided me with a well rounded knowledge of all school activities and an opportunity to observe and interact with students on a daily basis. As I experienced the school system throughout my college years, my mind swayed back and forth over the question, "Do I want to be a teacher?" When I graduated from SDSU I was still undecided, which is why I took a year off to travel.
In the Fall of 1995 I began my Single Subject Teaching Credential Program at SDSU. My first semester of student teaching was at De Portola Middle School. I taught U.S. History (8th grade, GATE) under the supervision of my Master Teacher, Kim Plummer. My second semester was at West Hills High School where I taught World History (10th grade) under the supervision of my Master Teacher, Michael Hall. I completed my student teaching in January of 1997 and officially became a teacher in the State of California. I substitute taught for one month in the San Diego Unified School District and was then offered a long term position (3 months) at Farb Middle School. At Farb I taught social studies to ESL (English as a Second Language) students. My contract at Farb ended in July and I was without a job. A few days later West Hills High School contacted me for an interview and I was hired in August. I had an incredible time teaching my first year at West Hills. It was after that year that I definitely knew I had made the correct career choice.