Feliz Dia de la Maestra

“What the teacher is, is more important than what (s)he teaches.”
― Karl A. Menninger

Today is extra-special as I celebrate my 7th month in México and Dia de La Maestra.

In November 15, 2012, I decided a change was needed in my life and moved to México to pursue a career in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. What I first thought of as a creative way to escape the 9-to-5 grind of a government job, I now consider an honor, enhancing the lives of others. While I am still adjusting to changes in my every day living, my life now feels rich beyond measure

ITTO December 2012

With my ITTO graduating class December 2012, Guadalajara, México

I had tried teaching twice before, first in Atlanta, GA and later in Baltimore, MD. While I loved teaching in Atlanta, teaching in Baltimore was awful: a time best chalked up to experience (all puns intended). Teaching in México is definitely different. The pay varies from school to school, as do the hours, the condition of the facilities, and even the subjects required.

David and Kate

Ready to Teach! With my wonderful ITTO colleague, New Zealander David Chittenden, December 2012

To no surprise, I have heard nightmare stories about schools in México as much I have read glowing affirmations from professionals that say they will never teach anywhere else. As the daughter of two lifetime teachers (Mom in Special Education, Dad in Music),  I am grateful to live in a country that celebrates my newly chosen career.


The first Teacher’s Day was celebrated in México by initiative of deputies Benito Ramirez and Enrique Viesca Lobaton, who proposed, in 1918, that May 15th be a day of tribute to teachers. One teacher in particular,  José Vasconcelos, is remembered on May 15th for his philosophy on teaching and support for the arts.

“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them.
They remember what you are.”

― Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider

I remember some teachers very well, with memories, constructive criticism and advice to last a lifetime, including…

Elementary School Art
Patten Dew – taught me to “hold and hold and hold and hold” until the glue dried

High School English
Sharon Franklin (Leff) – instilled in me a love for creative writing and public speaking

College Printmaking
Norman Wagner – encouraged me learn letterpress and focus on book design


Teaching is a job like no other, with every day challenges, changes and, of course, celebrations. Today I am in a country that loves me back and says thanks; on this day in particular, I can’t think of anything better to be doing with my life… or any place better to be doing it.

Check out the website I have proudly created with my 6 Semester students.