Phone: (314) 953-5800
Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor of Arts in English, University of Miami Master of Arts in English with Emphasis in Composition, University of Missouri at St. Louis
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I wish I could start my piece with this tableau: a young girl sitting in her pretend classroom in front of a circle of dolls and stuffed animals while pointing to a picture in a storybook. Truthfully, I was never that young girl with a burning desire to become a teacher. When I started college, I wanted to be a lawyer. After taking Introduction to Criminal Justice, I changed my mind and eventually majored in English. I loved literature and even dabbled in a couple of creative writing courses. After receiving some positive feedback on my short story and character sketch, I felt confident that I would become a great American novelist.
When I shared my career choice with my parents, I was dismayed and disappointed by their reaction; my mom chuckled while my dad explained, “That’s a nice idea, Sharon, but we need you to financially support yourself after college.” My mom then asked, “Have you thought about becoming a teacher?” Teaching was the last thought on my mind. After a sobering conversation and a new career choice, I crammed the normal two years of the education minor into two semesters. I ventured into teaching telling myself that I would still be that novelist one day since I could easily write a novel during my summers off.
Even though my career choice didn’t originate from a childhood burning desire, I am passionate about teaching. I know every student will improve her reading and writing skills by the end of the course. Every spring, I return the first day of class writing samples to my students; I ask them to read it and share their thoughts about the paper with their shoulder partners. Without fail, students recognize their own growth as a writer. I cultivate a supportive and engaging learning environment for students to take risks and grow.
During my summers off, I’m not writing a novel. I usually write a few snatches of dialogue, three different starts of a possible short story, and the occasional ending of a story. I’m usually reading young adult fiction and books about teaching. I return in the fall to my classroom with at least three novel recommendations for students to read and at least one new idea to try in the classroom.
I love teaching.