While I worked to finish my Master’s degree at the University of Chicago, I took two full time jobs related to language pedagogy. The first was a position as coordinator of a language computer lab at the Laboratory Schools on campus. There, I worked to assist and train teachers in the use of technology to enhance language learning. We did all kinds of fun projects and I started to follow all the ed-techy things. And got ed-techy enough to maintain the lab, server, and DiLL software in good working order. My claim to fame: I helped Malia Obama with her headset during a language class (before the Obama family moved to the White House).
I also got a certificate in translation and did some SPA>ENG translation gigs on the side.
In 2008, I moved from Chicago to Bloomington, Illinois to take a job at Illinois Wesleyan University as tech coordinator and Spanish instructor. Again, I helped professors integrate technology in their classrooms and I got to try all kinds of crazy things in the classroom. Bless my students for allowing me to experiment with several different pedagogical approaches. I learned as much from the failures as I did from the successes. And I learned: grading papers, assignments, and tests can suck the life out of you.
I learned about different temperaments and how some learners were naturally suited to language learning through conversation, interaction, and visual input while others did better through reading and writing exercises on their own. I ran the tutoring program and managed multiple undergrads. I also led a summer course and week-long retreat on the topic of creativity. That caused me to dig deeper into principles of design.
While at IWU, I took at fused glass class on the side and learned about color, mixing pigments in my apartment, satisfying the baby artist inside.
After IWU, I took a job as a trainer at Instructure. I traveled to multiple K12 and HigherEd institutions teaching instructors how to use the cloud-based LMS to its fullest. Then I transitioned to Product Management and became certified in all the Product Management and Agile-Scrumish things. This was a bit of a departure from my previous jobs, but I enjoyed learning how to build and maintain software.
After Instructure IPO’d, I took another software product manager job at Cricut. This was a terrific match for me because it combined creativity, DIY, and software into one. I had the experience of building and running a cross-functional software team and learning more about how software businesses work.
Now I’m exploring all the unique ways I can combine tech with learning, wellness, and the humanities.