Welcome to Teachers That Sparkle! We are educators who are passionate about making the world a better place…educating children so that they become caring, productive adults in this ever-changing world! We want to share all we know (and are learning) so that all teachers can be the best they can be! We love that we have such opposite experiences so we can see everything through two lenses…that of a very experienced principal…and that of a brand new teacher learning each and every day! Take a moment to get to know us below! And prepare to Sparkle On!
Growing up in a small town in north central Iowa (20 minutes from Minnesota), I honestly thought I would become a teacher and stay in that small town forever. All of my family was there..including my support system to help with my daughter. I was as surprised as anyone that I decided to accept a teaching position on the east side of Houston, Texas! Did you know it is HOT in Houston! And…that city is BIG! Things I had to learn along the way!
I also did not realize what it took to work in a “real” at-risk school. I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade ESL classes and it was hard work. I had students from interesting homes and backgrounds, plus students right from Mexico and Central America who had never been in school before. Talk about a challenge…and a learning curve! But, I learned to LOVE it! And, as I learned more and more, I was approached by my principal and a district administrator to begin working on my master’s degree and become a bilingual campus specialist (like a coach). I never thought that would be for me…I really thought I would retire from the classroom. But I learned to love that as well!
However, one day I realized that as I began to move up in positions, I could have a bigger influence on how many children I could make a difference with. I began to realize that I could one day become a campus administrator and help more students than ever. I became an assistant principal in the smallest district in the Houston area, a Dual Language Coordinator (serving on a team that wrote a 3 million dollar grant to begin a program), and an assistant principal in my original district. Then, one day, I was called and assigned to become the principal at my school. It was an elementary school that they called the district’s “inner city” school. I had a very diverse population and a high level of low-income families. I was as nervous as can be…but learned to LOVE it! I served 6 years in that position.
I decided that, although I grew up and received my bachelor’s degree in Iowa, I had never worked there. I found that I wanted to return and see what it would be like in my home state. It worked out for me, as I had just ended a 19 year marriage and my daughter and I were looking for something different. I accepted a position at that city’s “inner city” school. I was charged with going in and helping them improve. I was beginning to find my calling. It was an interesting 2 years of my life…and although we saw a lot of things improving, Houston was calling my name.
I returned to the “EAST SIDE” to take over a school that was in trouble with the state of Texas for low test scores, called an “Improvement Required” school. I had a year to fix it…and it was HARD work. As I transitioned in, all district level administration (everyone who hired me and believed in my skills) transitioned out. Currently in my third year, we are seeing that our students believe they can and will learn! My teachers are growing every day! I love my job and my community in which I serve.
In between all I have mentioned above, I have to say, I have been very lucky. I had supports from people who are legends in education. I have had the opportunity to participate in learning opportunities that one can only dream of. I have presented at conferences and written curriculum documents. And, the thing I find my biggest accomplishment, my daughter is teaching…and I get to spend time with her weekly helping guide her to be better than her mama!
I will never say I have all of the answers. I will never stop learning from others. But, I hope that what I can share with you on teachersthatsparkle, can help you be the best version of you when it comes to educating our children and influencing the future of our country!
Hello fellow and aspiring teachers! My name is Kimberly Dixon and I am currently a Kindergarten teacher in a collaborative classroom at an early childhood academy in Houston, Texas. This is my first year as a teacher…let me be more specific; I began teaching in December of 2017. That’s right, I have been teaching for a whole 3 months! While it may seem silly to have a blog about teaching while I am still so new to the profession, I decided to give it a shot because I feel like my trials and successes so far have left me with some helpful advice to offer young teachers I meet along my journey. Although I am new to the profession as an educator, I do have a background heavily influenced by education and educators alike. My mom began teaching the year I started Kindergarten. She was a first year teacher at the same elementary school I attended. Growing up, it was mainly just my mom and I, so I was with her all the time at school. I was with her every afternoon in her classroom while she prepared for the next day, I went with her every summer for her to teach summer school, and I accompanied her to every staff development/training during her time off. In addition, all of my mom’s closest friends were teachers as well. While I was growing older, my mom was growing as a teacher. I got to witness her journey from the classroom, to coaching positions, to assistant principal, and finally to principal. I knew all of the hard work and long hours she put into her career because she was passionate about changing lives and I loved that about her so much. When it came time for me to graduate high school and go to college, I was left with the dilemma of what I wanted to “be when I grew up”. I envisioned living a very glamorous lifestyle. I wanted to be “something important”. I went to my first college (of many) and majored in Theatre. I received a scholarship to attend, and I wanted to be a famous actress someday. When I got too homesick and lost my passion for theatre, I moved home for a semester to figure out my next plan. I chose to go to another university and majored in Fashion Merchandising. Again, I was really convinced I needed to be glamorous! During my time there, I realized Fashion Merchandising was not for me and I got a little too caught up in the college party scene. I moved home and decided to pursue another venture: Cosmetology school. I’m sure you can guess that didn’t work out for me either. I gave up on school all together and didn’t think I could ever make college work for me. I began working full time in various jobs, never really satisfied with what I was doing. I continued to listen to my mom every day talk about her job and all the joy, struggles, and rewarding feelings that came along with it. As a few years went by, I realized where my heart truly was and what I needed to do. I knew I had to finish my degree to be a teacher. The road to get here was long and more difficult than I ever thought it would be, but I made it. Every day after dismissal I go back to my classroom to get ready for the next day and feel proud of the work that I have done, but more importantly, I’m so proud of what my students have done every day. I don’t live that “glamorous” lifestyle I envisioned when I was in high school, I am not a famous Hollywood movie star….but this life means so much more to me than any of those things I dreamed when I was younger. I get to wake up every day and help mold the lives of young children and guide them to be the best little people they can be. I have big plans for the future and I am just getting started. Clearly, I don’t have all of the answers and am so far from being an expert on anything, but I look forward to sharing all of my ideas (the ones that work and the ones that don’t) with all of you and hope to gain so much from this process. Thank you for joining me on this journey!