From Michigan to Mississippi
an introduction

A Little Bit About Me

My parents moved to Homer, Michigan in 1983, shortly after my older brother, Adam, was born, and two years before I was born. The town motto, Homer is Home, is proudly painted on the water tower. Homer is a small village made up of about 2,000 people. Most of those 2,000 people have lived there their entire lives either farming or working at the Trojan Heat Treat. My parents were oddities in town, neither one of them had family in town, and both held professional degrees. My father is the town doctor, and my mother is the town lawyer.

Some people complain that small towns are boring. I say it just depends are what kind of entertainment you are looking for. There is always a sports event, or school play, or parade, or church event going on, and the library is always open when you need it. If you are looking for more 'sophisticated' entertainment, Homer is surrounded by larger places that provide both cultural and extracurricular opportunities. Detroit and Kalamazoo offered many options. I saw The Nutcracker Ballet, and The Bodies exhibit in Detroit. I saw the Canadian Brass Band and Chenille Sisters play in Kalamazoo, as well as seeing Chihuly's glass art exhibit. Other nearby cities provided ballet, music, and (for a brief time) gymnastics, lessons. My parents also brought outside cultures to us by hosting foreign exchange students.

Although Homer was small, the school system was well-respected in the area. They offered college prep courses, and at the request of my mother, provided advanced placement calculus for Erin, my twin sister, and me. My parents place a lot of value on education, so I worked hard in school and shared the honor of Valedictorian with three other students, one of which was my sister.
After graduating from high school, I made the hardest decision of my life so far. I choose to go to Beloit College, 255 miles away from Grinnell College where Erin had chosen to go (along with my older brother Adam), and 293 miles from Homer where my parents and younger brother were.

I not only love my family, I like them as well, so choosing to go so far away took a lot of courage. Nonetheless, in August, 2003 I packed my bags and moved to Beloit, Wisconsin to start my undergraduate degree.
The first few days of college were especially hard, I was on my own and homesick. But, as my mother has told me before, I am very resilient. I soon found friends, and started trying out different clubs. I tried many clubs, but the only one that stuck was cross-country. The team became my college family. I also kept busy with classes. I did not know what I wanted to study when I got to college so I just signed up for classes that looked interesting.

My first year I took math, science, anthropology, music history, and philosophy classes. Although I enjoyed all of the classes, math and science are the ones that stuck. In May, 2007 I graduated with a major in Mathematics, and a minor in Biology.
It was during my senior year of college that I began to think about teaching as a career option. Through tutoring, and being a TA, I rediscovered my joy of helping others learn. My college experience had given me the self-confidence and leadership skills I felt I needed to teach.

I had not taken any education classes up to that point, so I started to look at alternate route programs.  I applied to both Teach for America and Mississippi Teacher Corps in September.  I was hoping for MTC, a free masters degree and laptop sounded good to me.  You can read my application essay for MTC here.  Right before Thanksgiving break I got a call from Ben Guest telling me I had been accepted to the program.  As a result, about two weeks after graduation I packed my bags for Mississippi. I said earlier that deciding to go to college was the hardest decision I have made so far. Deciding to teach was easy, but the execution of that decision has been the hardest, and most rewarding, experience of my life so far.

This portfolio takes you through my two years as part of the Mississippi Teacher Corps.

Below is a slide show of different pictures from growing up, college, and MTC. 
The pictures are in no particular order.

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