Katina Dudley, Health and Medical Sciences Academy Director, Monticello High School
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Time Management. I am always trying to do things better and learn more and more each year. There simply never seems to be enough time to get the work done to perfection. Sometimes you have to do the best you can because you can’t do your best. I am also a mom of three very involved children and married to a teacher who also strives to be better. Information is easy to access, but research and new discoveries require that we constantly read and network to stay informed. It is an exciting time for teachers and students but a constant challenge to prioritize and ultimately for me, to remember that I do this work daily because I truly love watching my students grow and learn from experiences that are provided. The day to day can be exhausting but the growth and excitement observed over time is worth the energy expended.
What is the most common misconception about your job?
We teach the same thing each year. Well that would be easy if that were true, but I am working harder today than I worked 10 years ago. Technology integration challenges each of us to think about our curriculum and instruction methods daily. We are constantly in dialogue with our fellow teachers and learning new ways to help students engage in their own learning. It is exciting to try new technologies and when they work you celebrate, but in 365 days, the technology has changed and you are trying something new for the same lesson. Technology has also driven such cultural change that methods that were once engaging are now considered boring to students if inappropriately and overused.
Where do you see the teaching field in five years?
Has any one observed how quickly the teaching field has changed over the last 5 years? I can honestly remember being scared to hit the send button on an email for fear that something was wrong and running next door to ask a fellow teacher how to load an image on power point. I have no idea what will be available to me and my students, I just know that I will be trying something new and I will be working to best understand how to prepare the young minds for new adventures and hopefully have the courage to keep trying new things.
What outside experience prepared you best to become a teacher?
I am the product of a very large family in Southern Albemarle. I am one of the oldest of several cousins. I loved watching and playing with all of them. As a young child, I would always ask my teachers for the extra handouts used in school (elementary) so that I could go home and “play school” in my front yard. I had some great teachers that just seemed to love me and it was evident that they loved TEACHING. When I left for college to study Biology, my mom had always hoped that I would enter a profession in health care, another career desire. Each summer, during college, I worked for Albemarle County Parks and Recreation as a recreation leader. This job was more fun than work, but I loved making money while leading/playing recreational games with young children. After graduation from college, Albemarle HS and Walton MS needed long-term substitutes in Biology, Physical Education, and Special Education. I taught at both schools all year and absolutely loved going to work each day. I will forever be grateful for those experiences and am always thankful that I chose teaching as a career. Ultimately, it is my love for working with young adults that has prepared me for this career and I was fortunate to have been given many opportunities to grow and become more comfortable working alongside these young, yet curious minds.