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Meet Professional Classroom Teacher

Karen Salsbury

Introducing a unique person with two separate careers, who has made the love of literacy and being polite her passions, please meet Karen Salsbury.  With a Master’s in Education/Reading, Karen’s background is somewhat diverse, which contributes to her effectiveness as a teacher.  She began her career teaching 5 years of second grade in a small rural school where she averaged 20-22 students in one second grade for the whole district.  Here she learned to love teaching literacy.  She laughs about her first year because she had 5 teacher’s kids and the superintendent’s daughter in her class.

I always figured that was a make-or-break year because they would certainly have an earful about my teaching.  It turns out to have been positive because all the teachers would come to me with helpful comments that helped to mold me into a better teacher.

Karen left the small town to move to Kansas City, as she had always dreamed of, only to meet with a high unemployment rate for teachers.  She tried unsuccessfully to find another teaching job, but to no avail.  Since she had to make rent and a car payment, she took a job in economic development and felt like a fish in water.  Her good nature and natural people skills created a wonderful dynamic as she worked in marketing to ensure economic success for a Kansas City county.  She ended up staying in economic development for 11 successful years working her way up from Administrative Assistant and eventually to Assistant Executive Director and had a short 3 months as Interim Executive Director.

Having a small child at home, she wished to work from home and took a consulting job working in asset management for the real estate department of a large company with several holdings.  She could work from home and enjoy her son.  After her son began kindergarten she was recruited by a commercial land real estate firm, which launched her career in real estate sales.  This lasted 5 years, but she began to miss being in the classroom.

Currently in her 8th year back in education, Karen teaches 7th grade English Language Arts and is developing her own teacher website merging her two careers of business and education.  She truly enjoys teaching and has this to say about teaching middle school:

So many people scrunch up their face at me with an ‘ick-look’ when I tell them I teach middle school.  I respond that I love Middle School.  While, yes, the drama can run high some days, middle school students show a unique involvement in their learning.  It is easy to get them excited about anything new because they are still developing who they are.  I have the inimitable opportunity to help sculpt and shape their academic literacy career and steer them toward all the wonderful things this world has to offer.  Of course, this keeps me on my toes sometimes working hard to come up with a new and different ‘dog and pony show’, but it also allows me the terrific fun of letting them discover learn using cutting edge strategies.

Her school began a pilot program called Vanguard that integrates iPad minis in the classroom.  Karen was selected as a Vanguard team member because of her strives to always integrate technology into the classroom.  She is 1 of 6 teachers from her building on the team out of 54 teachers selected to participate in the pilot program.  The District serves more than 19,000 students with more than 1,276 teachers’ district wide.  The iPad Pilot includes 30 middle school teachers and 30 high school teachers with plans to implement in the elementary soon.  There were 1,800 iPads purchased and disbursed among the 60 teachers to use in their classrooms.  While students are not allowed to take the minis outside of the classroom they look forward to English Language Arts more now than ever.

You have to be who are.  I have never been successful following the crowd; I make my own curricula and follow my own style.   I don’t fit into anyone’s box and I don’t expect my kids to either.  I have three rules in all of my classes – Use your own style to learn; rudeness will not be tolerated; and put forth your best effort every day.  If you follow these rules, you will not only be success in my class, but in life as well.

~Karen Salsbury

Teacher 1 Stop