This week is all about getting you, the reader, comfortable with our new blog. Today we wanted to introduce you to Kellee so you can get to know her better. All the basics can be found on the About Us page, so today we wanted to have Ricki interview Kellee to make it a bit more fun.
Ricki: What is your youngest reading memory?
Kellee: This one is an easy question for me. I remember my mom reading to me every night from when I was a toddler until I was in late elementary school. My favorite book when I was Ten Apples On Top by Dr. Seuss and I was so proud of myself when I memorized it because I was “reading” to my mom.
R: When did you know that you wanted to be a teacher?
K: This is a tough question. When I was younger, I used to play teacher with my sister all of the time and I even taught her how to spell and read; however, I always said I wanted to be a lawyer. When I was in college, it became evident to me that that dream was not where I was actually heading. I had a bit of a breakdown, called my mom, and she calmly told me that it didn’t matter because I was made to be a teacher. I then went to observe some classrooms and I knew I was in the right place.
R: Did you enjoy English class in high school?
K: Honestly, for most of the years, no. My 9th and 11th grade teacher really focused on memorizing LONG lists of vocabulary and I just never connected to them. I felt what they taught was out of date and I didn’t really like how they taught. 10th grade wasn’t as bad. I actually liked my teacher and how he taught a lot, but I could tell that he was following a curriculum instead of teaching from the heart. I did take a creative writing poetry class in 11th grade that I loved where I finally felt like I could be myself and felt at home.
12th grade changed it all. In 12th grade I had Ms. Haley. Ms. Haley was 83 years old, had been teaching in the same room since she was 18, and was a legend in the school. At first, I was terrified of her. She was tough. But soon I realized it was tough love. Ms. Haley was the first teacher in a long time to actually make me realize that I was very good at something and not just a middle-of-the-road student. She was the reason I ultimately chose English Literature for my bachelor’s. She is my inspiration.
R: What is one piece of advice that you would give to a teacher who is trying to get his/her students to read?
K: When I give advice to any teacher who is struggling to get their students to read, the first thing I ask is, “Do you read the books that you want your students to read?” That is the key. Passion feeds passion. If you are passionate about reading then your kids will be too. The other pieces of advice I give are: give your students time to read and access to may books.
R: If you weren’t a teacher, what would you be?
K: If you ask my grandfather, I am still meant to be a lawyer and that is probably what I would have been if I wasn’t a teacher. I would just have to work on the crying when I don’t get my way 🙂
R: Why do you teach middle school instead of elementary or high?
K: This is a very hard question to answer. I originally went to school for elementary education and spent a lot of time in elementary schools. I always thought the kids were cute, but I never felt the connection to them that I wanted with my students. Because of this, I decided to go visit a middle school and I just knew it when I entered into the 6th grade social studies classroom. I loved how middle school students were young and impressionable yet they can still hold a deep conversation with you. It was at that moment that I knew middle school was where I belong and I’ve never questioned my decision.
R: Does your husband enjoy reading?
K: Traditional reading? No. He’s read and enjoyed only 3 or 4 books since I’ve known him. He has actually helped me stretch my definition of reading, because when I started thinking about it, I realized that he may actually read more than me just in different ways: he get the New York Times on his phone, he reads more blogs than I do, and you can find him most days in front of his computer reading some article on either Geekologie or some other site. I actually plan on writing a reflective post about what I have learned from being married to a “non-reader.”
R: What is your favorite genre to read?
K: Any. I think my favorite genre changes more often than my hair length. I go through stages. I will say that the only genres I struggle with are high sci-fi and major fantasy books.
R: What activities do you enjoy outside of reading?
K: I am a pretty big teacher/book nerd. I mostly like to read or take part in social networking about books or teaching. I do love TV and watch way too many shows. I am also a huge Cubs fan and watch as many of their games as I can each season (and I have become a new hockey fan so I watch some hockey on TV as well). Finally, I have a wonderful husband and friends and I love to spend time with them. If I am not doing those things, I am writing a professional book proposal so you’ll find me working on that.
R: Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
K: I think one of the most interesting things that people don’t know about me is about how diverse and artistic my family is. My grandfather was on Broadway (inaugural showing of South Pacific!) then was an agent, my father directs art museums, my mother is a photographer, my sister works at the Erie Canal Museum, and my brother is a graphic artist. As for me, my art is reading, teaching, and writing (though I did play cello in middle/high school and college).
Tomorrow join us to learn about Ricki and thank you so much for stopping by today!