Hi, I’m Samurai Mom! I love to learn and write about parenting, and especially about parenting teens. Samurai Dad and I have two teens of our own, and the challenges of raising teens in this time of incredible change prompted us to create Parent Samurai.
This is a unique phase in kids’ development, and also an age range (middle school) in which I chose to focus most of my teaching career. It’s probably no surprise to hear that not everyone loves to teach middle school. Yes, behaviors can be challenging and emotions do run high. Every day is an adventure.
But I wouldn’t want to teach any other age. Tweens and teens are changing so fast that they may be focused on themselves at times, but they can be funny and sweet, too. They come up with unexpected insights about the world. When you capture their interest and energy in a lesson…it’s like magic!
I wouldn’t trade my middle schoolers for any other age.
When our own kids were little, I spent seven years teaching teens in college. Seeing the dazed first-year students wandering around campus, looking for some firm ground was very much like orienting sixth-graders in their first week of middle school. In my college teaching experience, I had the pleasure of helping to coordinate the library instruction of the First-Year Student Foundations Program. I also taught College Success Seminar to those wandering freshmen. I’ll save you the suspense: they all did okay, and many went on to do really well.
At that point our own kids had reached an age in which I felt good about reentering public education full-time.
I was an Even Start Parent Educator from 2010-2013. I stretched my Spanish-speaking skills when I taught parenting education, technology and parent-child literacy activities. What an incredible opportunity to be able to teach K-5 students during half the week, and a class of ESL parents the other days! I also worked with a team to create the family education curriculum which included a pediatrician, a literacy specialist and ESL teachers. I loved the way our team could bridge the knowledge needs of an entire family to help them grow together.
As in all my experience, I learned as much as I taught in that position. I’ll never forget the patience that all the parents showed me when I would flounder in Spanish to remember that perfect word, now what was it?
Here are the highlights of my experience:
Even Start Parent Educator, 2010-2013
Parents as Teachers, Foundational Training in Parent Coaching, 2012
Co-wrote Even Start Family Education Curriculum as a team with literacy specialist, family physician and ESL instructors, 2011
School Libraries as Centers for Family Literacy, InfoLiteracy Teacher, Connect Learning Today
Flipping the Library Classroom for Information Literacy, InfoLiteracy Teacher, Connect Learning Today
Build a Reader ~DIY~ Tips from a Parent-Librarian (Dear Mr. Z..), InfoLiteracy Teacher
How to Build a Reader in This Day and Age, A Fine Parent
Using Writing for Research in the Content Area: It’s Not Just for ELA , Two Writing Teachers
Where are the Books? Building Independent Readers in Middle and High School, InfoLiteracy Teacher
Middle School Teacher
Library Media Specialist
Former Grade 5 Teacher, Social Studies and English Language Arts
Coordinator/Facilitator of Grade 8 Student-Led Respect Committee, 2015-2018
Coordinator/Facilitator of Grade 8 Ally Student Leaders Program (taught anti-bullying and peer-to-peer conflict resolution skills,) 2018-2019
Diversity Training, National Conference for Community and Justice, 2019
Library Instructional Coordinator, First Year Foundations – program designed to support freshman students in acclimating to academic, social-emotional and organizational demands of the college experience.
Adjunct Instructor, College Success Seminar – required, credit-bearing course in the First Year Foundations Program to teach first-year students academic, social and organizational skills needed to succeed in university.
Reference and Instruction Librarian – taught research, writing and technology skills to college students.
MAT, Master of Teaching – Concentration in Middle Grades History & Social Studies
Certified History and Social Studies Teacher, Grades 4-8
MLS, Master of Library Science, School Libraries
Certified Library Media Specialist, Grades K-12