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TeacherLore

Christa Umphrey

My life has always been a chaotic whirlwind of family and learning. I grew up on the Flathead Reservation in Montana with parents who were both teachers. School was always a part of my life, even before I was old enough to attend. In the nearly three decades I’ve been alive I don’t think there has yet been a school year that I wasn’t in a classroom of some form. Even now, any time away from my own three children is spent with my other 150 kids at Ronan High School.

Today I live across the fence, just fifty yards, from where I grew up in St. Ignatius. Today I’m teaching in the Mission Valley down the road from where I went to school. I’ve lived on both coasts, from New Hampshire to Orcas Island, Washington. After graduating from college I did graduate work at the University of Montana before beginning my teaching career. I still travel as often as I get the chance and I’ve worked to involve my students in international programs that allow them to collaborate with other students on on-line and travel to across the country and the world. In the last few years I have taken students to Los Angeles, Washington DC, New Orleans, and even to Macedonia. And everywhere we go, as we learn about what other places and cultures have to offer, we’ve been sharing our place, too. The more I see of the world, the more I want to see and learn. And the more I learn, the more I appreciate where I’ve come from.

I’ve been involved with the Heritage Project in various roles since its beginning, before I began teaching, and it’s shaped the way I approach teaching even to the most basic level of how I get students to think critically and write clearly. Where I’m from continues to shape who I am and what I value. Like my students, I’m from rural Montana, and as we read novels, write stories, do research, analyze writing and pass all our standardized tests, I want to help them discover that it’s a strength we have in common.

Posted by on 02/07 at 04:13 PM

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