What is a typical week like for you?
A typical week for me would be working full time doing home-based, educational play therapy for six families of infants and toddlers per day. Then, in the evenings, I teach either Zumba, Hot Hula or Zumbini, or take my daughter to Taekwondo or Baltimore School for the Arts’ TWIGS program. That’s Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, my daughter and I attend dance ministry rehearsals and then go home to do chores. On Saturdays, I drop my daughter off at 9 a.m. to an SAT prep class, teach two classes of Zumbini in different locations and then pick my daughter up from her class. Then we get something delicious to eat. On Sundays, we attend church, and currently, I’m rehearsing with my Hot Hula team for an event. In between home visits and after school, I’m usually working on a playlist and checking on my mom and mother-in-law.
So, you’re a teacher by day … a teacher by night. What was your path to education?
Funny you should ask that. I got an undergraduate degree in government and politics and realized I wasn’t really trained to do anything. I decided to go to graduate school and went and got the financial aid forms. I had no idea what I wanted to study and turned the application over to the back to look at the critical shortage areas. There was nursing, special education and the like. I then looked to the ceiling and said, “God, whatever you will have me do,” and spun the pencil on the back of the financial aid form. It landed on special education. Almost instantly, I remembered that a guy I had dated was in school for that, so I called him and he put me in touch with his advisor. I was invited to meet with the advisor. After that meeting, I was told if I scored an A in two classes, I would have a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins, plus books. I got those A’s.
As far as my night/weekend jobs in fitness, I have studied many dance styles over the years, had professional ballet training and minored in dance in undergrad at University of Maryland. I also left teaching and danced professionally for a while. I maintain multiple fitness certifications.
What motivates you?
Feeling well in my mind, body and spirit.
How do you balance teaching with parenting?
That’s easy. My family comes first. Whatever I take on must not interfere with my family’s needs. My husband helps with the taxi duties. My daughter likes to come to my classes and take pictures or come and hang out at the YMCA when I teach there. I chose to teach there because of her. I do have to turn down a lot of offers. And Siri is my brain.
What are you looking forward to in your career?
As much as I love kids and enjoy the magic of watching them learn, I am looking forward to RETIREMENT! When I was dancing full time, I got hooked on travel. I’m looking forward to much more of that.
How do you spend your free time?
During the school year, I don’t really have any. If I’m not working or doing an event, I’m catching up on chores and taking care of my husband, daughter and dog. I really need my summers off. Paperwork for teachers can really interfere with family time. We need that time to reconnect. I do take Ori Tahiti (Tahitian dance) lessons every chance I get. I’m obsessed with it. I want to try to compete in 2018.