This post is written by member Chawanna Bethany Chambers.
I’m nearly ten years removed from the freshly minted, aspiring teacher that I was in December 2007 after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Texas Lutheran University’s teaching program. I had major plans to change the face of education and bring fun back to learning for children. Education was serious business in my eyes, and I wouldn’t be complacent in what seemed to be a growing focus on exam accuracy and a stagnating view of child development. Didn’t kids need to know more than how to fill in the bubble without stray marks?
While I hadn’t yet narrowed down what my professional focus would be in the field, I knew that to gain credibility with my peers, parents, students, and community, I needed to produce some results and demonstrate my abilities. To lay the groundwork for what would become my educational legacy, I served faithfully in a variety of teaching positions. I was a Head Start prekindergarten teacher, an 8th- and 9th-grade public school English teacher, a department chair, a 7th-grade US history and 8th-grade humanities international school teacher, a grade 6–12 online English teacher, a curriculum developer, an instructional coach, a university adjunct instructor, and more. In 2010 I was selected as one of NCTE’s Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award recipients.
I kept that flame ignited through the years and worked diligently to gather a depth and breadth of knowledge of the field so that I would be as prepared as possible to one day found my own educational nonprofit and public charter school. In November 2016, I took the next step and established Single Seed Enrichment School, Inc., which serves as a nonprofit organization that provides free tutoring services to children in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. In addition to hoping to expand our influence in 2017, I will apply for an open enrollment charter in the state of Texas and start a preK–12 public charter school that uses competency-based education and blended learning to expose San Antonio children to international and service learning in August 2019.
In the meantime, I curate a blog in which I provide parents and educators with various resources and musings on topics in education. I hope to be a valued source of information for anyone interested in supporting children’s educational experiences. Currently, I’m excited to be engaging in research on K–12 online learning, as this avenue of education can provide greater access to quality instruction for children around the world. I’m also looking forward to speaking at conferences and providing even more professional development to fellow educators who want to learn more about competency-based education, blended learning, student voice, or dynamic teaching.
I value the work of teachers around the world, especially those who do their best to support every child in public school classrooms. If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that our greatest successes often come when we have a solid support system in place. Our families need support. Our students need support. Our teachers need support. I am not the same novice educator that I once was, and my passion has grown along with my skills. As I’ve honed my craft, my desire for change has intensified. I’m eternally thankful for the like-minded individuals who’ve encouraged my growth along the way. The time has come for me to return those favors to the world around me.
Dr. Chawanna Bethany Chambers is a national award-winning and board-certified preK–20 educator committed to the enhancement of American public school education. She serves in a variety of capacities that contribute to education advocacy and family empowerment.