Paging Dr. Allie-Ph.D candidate, teacher, Masckara artist
One thing that I am thankful for is that my career and my passions collide, making it easier for me to give and add value to others lives' without feeling “stuck”.
With school getting back into session, teachers are getting back into the swing of things-easier said than done! How do you make time for it all? How do you give so much of yourself while still finding time for your own passions. Aside from being a teacher and a Ph.D candidate, she is a CPT, and a Masckara artist. Read about how allie does it below.
What success means to me...
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up in a small city in Western Massachusetts that is known for its vibrant community and rich culture. I have only ever moved one city over – big moves I know! I am happy to call this precious place home. I will be starting my fifth year at my present job, teaching middle school social studies, which I was fortunate to obtain immediately after graduate school. I am currently working on my Ph.D (which is nuts) in Education at UMass-Amherst and hope to be done by my 30th birthday, it would be a sweet present I think. I earned my Master’s degree in Education, specifically history, in 2013 and studied history in undergraduate school as well. My focus now is in teacher professional development and retention. I am very interested in making schools supportive communities for teachers to continue learning themselves while creating rich, creative environments for their students.
How do you stay active?
I love so many different activities but my heart and soul can be found at the barn. I have been horseback riding for as long as I can remember (thank Mom and Dad for letting me indulge in such an experience for my whole life!). When I’m not riding my horse, I love hitting the weights at the gym with my Husband or taking long puppy walk with my dog Lola.
Favorite personal development book/podcast/blog
Oh gosh – it totally depends on my season in life but I love following Cara Alwill Leyba. I love her honest approach that promotes women inspiring and supporting other women.
Something that is necessary in teaching is the ability to make a mistake and fail without letting it get the best of you. If I am not willing to try something new or uncomfortable, I cannot expect that of my students.
How have any or all of your previous jobs helped you grow and play a role in your success today?
I am a History and Global Studies Teacher as well as an Academic Technologist. I teach 7th and 8th grade, Geography and Civics. I also assist in training and collaborating with our teaching faculty to implement the use of technology in the classroom. I love the balance of working with students and my coworkers as it pushes me to think out of the box and try new things myself. Although this is my first teaching job – I did many hours of tutoring during college and attribute that experience as the foundation of my teaching style. Something that is necessary in teaching is the ability to make a mistake and fail without letting it get the best of you. If I am not willing to try something new or uncomfortable, I cannot expect that of my students. This carries into my day to day life as I continuously try to push myself in new ways, whether it be through my personal brand or my teaching, trying a new activity or even cooking a new meal. Teaching is the most rewarding profession – I learn new things every single day and that is a blessing.
What does success mean to you?
To me, success means that I have inspired someone. Success means that I have given someone the ability to believe in himself or herself. At the end of the day, the content does not mean much. What matters are the skills. If I have inspired a student, a friend, a coworker to try something new, to fail without fear or to be confident in their abilities, I have succeeded.
How have you brought innovation to your industry/current profession?
One way I bring innovation to my current profession is to be current with technology use in the classroom. I am a total nerd and believe that our students today need to learn 21st century skills. My students have grown up in the digital age and need to learn how to create content and express themselves in a safe way that does not restrict their creativity. A personal skill that has allowed me to produce a better leadership style that has yielded positive results is my own interest in sharing my passion through technology. Whether it be social media, blogging or creating content, my personal passion and experience with trial and error transfers well into the classroom and allows me to lead by example.
What kind of obstacles do you face in your profession?
History is a male dominant field as is technology. At first I was intimated by this as I was always outnumbered in classes by my male classmates and am often one of one the only women in the room at conferences or events and conferences. I have overcome this by believing in myself and my values and not letting gender intimidate or define me and my abilities.
How has health and fitness brought you success in the workplace?
Health and fitness keeps me grounded. If I am not active, I am not my best self. This does play a role in my professional life as I have the pleasure of facilitating a winter fitness class for a small group of students. Through my personal experience with fitness coaching and my NASM certification, I collaborate with these ambitious young ladies to create a routine that meets their goals and needs. It is so fulfilling to be able to set an example for these young ladies. One moment that I will never forget occurred during our goal setting session one afternoon after about a month and a half of training together. I often encouraged the girls to go back and review their goals and make changes as they became stronger, mentally and physically. One young lady changed her goal from “I want to be skinny and lose weight” to “I want to get stronger and be able to do 10 push-ups”. I felt like a proud momma bear in this moment as my own vulnerability with these ladies allowed them to see they are more than a number or the unrealistic expectations social media sets for teenage girls.
inspiring others to see the best in themselves and to try new things-Whether it be in the classroom or through my personal brand, that is what I want my legacy to be.
What is your best advice for someone who is unsatisfied in their job or their overall career industry?
If you are unsatisfied in your job or overall career path, you need to sit down and consider what you want. Really think – beyond the money, beyond the title, what do you want in this life? For a long time I thought I just wanted to be a classroom teacher but I realized that alone does not fill my cup. I sat down and thought about the things that filled me the most and it all came down to the things I mentioned above, inspiring others to see the best in themselves and to try new things. Whether it be in the classroom or through my personal brand, that is what I want my legacy to be. That is how I came to a place where I truly fell in love with my job and my career. Finding your passion is key and giving and working towards sharing it with the world will not only be the most satisfying thing ever, it will fill your cup in ways you didn’t know were possible.
What role does validation and recognition play in your career path?
As a woman in a male dominated field, of course I want recognition. But at the same time, it is not all about me. Teaching is a selfless career and that is part of what I love about it. It’s about opening yourself up and teaching skills and building confidence in others. Validation and recognition is motivating, but so is watching a student have an “ah-ha” moment or fail without fear for the first time. Those little things are even more inspiring to me than any validation or recognition could ever be.
How do you make time for it all? What does balance mean to you?
This is a funny question – Ari knows that my life is go go go go from September to May. Some days, it sucks. I can’t lie about that. But making time for me and my passions is what keeps me grounded and focused. Balance to me means not forgetting what is important. This means sitting down for family dinner no matter how much grading I have to do, going to the barn to ride to distress or fitting in that workout. When your work and passion collide, it can be hard to stop. One thing that I do is I refuse to check work e-mail or do any work after 8pm. I tell my students this straight up at the beginning of the year. It sets an example of setting boundaries that are necessary in todays connected age. My passion project is one that is difficult to make time for when work starts up again but building my brand and filling up that cup is important to me too. One thing that I am thankful for is that my career and my passion collide, making it easier for me to give and add value to others lives without feeling “stuck”.
Why is it so important for women to have professional goals?
It is so important for women to have professional goals because we deserve the time, space and respect that our male colleagues get. Setting goals in the work place allow you to strive for success and give you inspiration to be more. I like to set two kinds of goals; small, tangible goals and also reach goals.
Reach goals are the kind that make you sweat a little and get uncomfortable in a good way while small, tangible goals keep you grounded and allow you to celebrate small successes while you work towards your reach goal.
Set goals and don’t forget them!