Yes, I am an educator. I am an “expert.” I have a doctorate in educational policy and development. I love to do research, but that’s not the main purpose of this site.
The purpose of this site is to talk about parenting, its challenges, and new research about how kids can be smart and happy, and how parents can help them (without losing their minds or without wasting their time on the educational fad of the moment).
And I am also a mom to a toddler. Yes, I will be writing mostly about kids. But even if your eyes glaze over at the mention of a “mommy blog,” don’t necessarily click away.
I was a teacher and curriculum coordinator for more than a decade in private and public schools in the Boston area. I’ve also been a journalist, writer, and a research fellow or assistant for several other projects. Now I’m about to finish my dissertation. And I also change a lot of diapers and can sing 30 verses to “The Wheels on the Bus.”
You can read a longer version of my bio if you are so inclined.
Right now I’m just trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
And I honestly think there is a huge void in the blog world for writing about kids, schools, and education that isn’t a) so public policy-oriented or academic that it’s incredibly boring and inaccessible to the general public or b) written by people who haven’t taught or studied education. I want to use my academic training and teaching experience (and, yes, my experiences as a parent) to provide commentary on new research developments in learning and education.
But mainly I love writing and I love reading. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. In high school and college, I wrote for the school newspapers. After Wesleyan, I started the academic track, winning a fellowship to a doctoral program in sociology. But really I just wanted to talk to interesting people and write about it. When my doctoral program started being more about interpreting p-values and performing multiple regressions, I left and ended up in teaching because I had no idea what else to do. And it turns out I sucked at it. I mean, really sucked. I was awful. Shockingly to me, most kids don’t actually care if their teachers know about social theory or did well in college. However, I decided through sheer force of will that I would learn how to become a good teacher, despite the fact that I wasn’t sure that I really liked middle school kids in the first place. And I eventually found joy in connecting with kids, learning about how to teach kids to write, and being a part of close-knit educational communities.
Well, into my thirties then, I decided it was now or never: go back to graduate school or figure out something else to do. I realized I was becoming more interested in the research behind why some kids do well and others don’t. I went back to grad school, technically now in the educational policy department, but I knew that I was really picking up on what interested me in my twenties in my sociology doctoral program: what are the factors that allow some kids to succeed and how can we get more kids to have more options for a better life?
So this is the broad theme that interests me. But much of my life right now is taken up by nap schedules, toddler tantrums, and teething. And what’s better preparation for writing about parenting than real life experience?