My day job is being a bilingual resource teacher at Glacier Edge Elementary School in Verona.
I work with bilingual learners and families to help them navigate school and academics. This has been a really intense year in terms of supporting families and learning.
Being able to speak Spanish has been such a positive force in my life. Speaking another language and being able to connect with more people and other cultures has opened the world for me.
I was a business major and have an MBA in marketing. I was working in sales and marketing in Milwaukee, selling microfiche services and looking at my job as a way to pay the rent. I later sold workers’ compensation and property insurance to businesses.
I started volunteering for a community organization called Milwaukee Achievers, which supports adult literacy and learning. They supported many adults from immigrant populations, especially those of Latino heritage. I really loved getting to use my Spanish; it opened a lot of doors for me. I decided to go back to school and get a post baccalaureate degree and teaching certificate in ESL (English as a Second Language) and a minor in Spanish.
I did a teaching practicum in the Marshall Islands on a small island called Ebeye. It’s one of the most densely populated places in the world and filled with amazing people and culture. It was an intense experience and from it I realized how much I enjoyed traveling and teaching. I got a degree in teaching but didn’t actually start to teach as a profession until my kids were older.
I started working in the Madison Area Literacy Center (now the Literacy Network ), then volunteered and worked in the Madison school system, and eventually moved into my current role.
My most memorable caffeine experiences are many. One was the time I decided to eat a spoonful of instant coffee to quickly get some energy to attend a Badger game in college after staying up late the night before. It was horrible—definitely wouldn’t recommend it. I was a coffee novice and that thought that would be a quick way to get the effect I was after.
Later I moved onto Café Bustelo, the Cuban coffee in the yellow can, made with a stovetop percolator. I’d drink that with a lot of sugar and milk.
My other salient memory is the huge cups of lattes at Muddy Water Café in Minneapolis. I usually had those with a huge Rice Krispie bar.
My current caffeine of choice is typically a black dark roast or espresso.
The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate who just spoke at Biden’s inauguration. I’m in awe of anyone who’s speaking for people who have experienced so much hardship and pain and is able to use that to express such beauty.
I’d also love to sit down with Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist leader from Vietnam, who’s been living in exile in France for years, and the Dalai Lama. It would be wonderful to speak with these spiritual leaders when the world is in a time of such division and turmoil. If I could share a moment with someone who could infuse love and peace and wisdom over a cup of coffee, that would be amazing.
World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine: The ability to live in the moment through art and to connect with our creative sides. I’d also love to solve the problem of global warming and climate change. I’m not sure we could do that over coffee, but we could definitely use that to bring like minds together.