I was the type of student who loved school. I loved being on a college campus, meeting new people and having intellectual and philosophical conversations with others. I enjoyed being in the classroom, challenging myself and learning new things. These qualities are what led me to pursue a career in storytelling.
While a student at Douglass College, Rutgers University, I chose to major in American Studies because it offered a flexible and well-rounded course load. I was always pretty good at math, so I minored in mathematics. When I found myself in classes with Engineering majors, I stuck it out because it was a challenge. Even though, I never really saw myself turning math into a career. Apart from solving retail sale percentages in my head or helping my niece with her homework every once in a while, I just enjoyed math for the sake of doing math. I also minored in theatre arts, well, because it was fun. I thought about acting, but chose to pursue journalism, instead.
I wanted to keep that love of learning fresh in my soul and convert it into a career. It wasn’t easy, and it’s not that I couldn’t commit to one thing. I just saw myself pursuing a number of different careers, and as a creative person, I never felt like doing one thing was enough.
Since graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Douglass College, Rutgers University in 2005 and earning a master’s in journalism from Boston University in 2008, I have forged my own creative career path. I built my resume chasing the kind of work that inspires me, thus gaining a diverse set of life experiences I may have never otherwise ascertained. After spending most of my twenties chasing down feel-good stories, I made a transition into education while pursuing my own various book projects and freelance writing opportunities. I realized that I missed school, and I saw an opportunity to use my professional experience in a way that helped high school students discover a passion I didn’t find until my early twenties.
So, I took over a high school TV/Video Production program from a 30-year teaching veteran and rewrote the curriculum to meet modern creative and technical standards. As you can imagine from what I have already described, I wanted to do more than teach students about television production. I find it ever important that teenagers learn life skills while still in high school – something that will be useful to them when they enter the real world. Practicing professional skills while learning in the classroom is ever important. My goals were for TV class to feel like more of an internship than an elective. Yes, of course, it’s meant to be fun, but there’s so much that students can learn while having fun. In fact, I think that students learn best when they are enjoying their time in the classroom.
The school community relies on my TV students to produce quality work that serves our audience. Each week, my upper level students host, produce and edit a weekly morning show. The Morning Buzz shares feel-good stories of school clubs, classroom projects and other human interest features with student-athletes, teachers and staff.
Check out my Bulldog TV classroom website, which features video tutorials and other learning tools to support blended learning activities, along with information on our curriculum and other classroom projects. This site especially came in handy during the spring of 2020 when schools transitioned to remote learning.
In 2020, I earned my standard CTE certificate in Television Broadcasting after completing seven stages of New Jersey’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) Alternate Route Teacher Certification Program at Brookdale Community College. I also had the unique opportunity to produce valuable content for Hopewell Valley Regional School District while on maternity leave from my teaching position.
Learn more about my unique role in education here.
the benefits of sharing stories that humanize a school district are not unique to 2020. Every school has its own special stories and superheroes. Whether those people are teachers who create interesting ways for students to learn, students who demonstrate great kindness to their peers or parents who pursue interesting career paths – connecting a school community and establishing a positive morale among those community members benefits everyone involved.