The crackling of rotted birch deafened, and I found that I could no longer smell pine, it had been masked by the potent aroma of spilled gasoline on my boots. I was hustling as fast as the Red Wing leather could carry my weight, but the loose dirt and juvenile roots kept slipping under me, making it nearly impossible to gain ground. I was convinced my feet would catch fire. When I was lucky enough to catch a full breath, no, not a breath, a gasp, it filled my lungs with more soot than oxygen. Every follicle, every cell on and in my body, was bogged down with ash and smoke. With sweat oozing out of every pore and snot dripping from the slope of my nose into the crooks of my mouth, I was able to mutter the most ridiculous and awesome thing that I have ever said. I looked at my fire chief and exclaimed, “This just isn’t scary enough for me anymore, I am going to quit fighting fire and teach middle school.”
My name is Ms. Allison and I teach history, humanities, and geography at Mountain West Montessori Academy. Like most people, I have dreams. One of those dreams was to jump out of perfectly good helicopters into flaming trees. I spent 6 years working for the United States Forest Service as a wildland firefighter. However, I had a nagging voice in my head reminding me that my ultimate dream was to become an educator. In college, I studied as many subjects as possible, traveled to faraway places, and became a professional chainsaw operator. At the University of Utah I studied psychology, film, gender studies, history, language arts; I even took a class on dinosaurs. After a decade of enjoyable, yet productive shenanigans, I earned a Bachelors of Arts in English Teaching and a History Teaching minor from the University of Utah. I went on to earn my Masters in Teaching from Westminster College, and I plan on returning to school for my doctorate in 2020.
My path to be an educator was bizarre, but indispensable to my philosophy of education. In a nutshell, I believe that every child has a right to an equitable education that incorporates aspects of a happy and authentic life. Every child deserves to be given the time, resources, space, skills, tools, and encouragement to figure out how to live.