My name is Julie Balen, and I am an English teacher. I am a fearless, big idea educator. Collaboration frames everything I do, and I believe that trust forms the foundation of that work. I have worked alongside educators from K to 12 in my board and in my online PLN. Both communities have taught me about the power of asking questions, listening intently, and sharing what you know. They are, in part, the reason I am the educator I am today.
My children are the main reason I am the educator I am today. They are adults now, but as they traversed the rocky road of school, each of their experiences informed my teaching….and my learning. Their insights into everything from the school environment to teacher validation of them as individuals (or the lack of validation) lit my way.
We are a family of individuals: teacher, mechanic, soldier, dancer and general contractor. We embrace diversity and support each other’s goals, but we are united in making. Long before the ‘maker movement’, we made. We made homemade Christmas cards, wrapping paper, ornaments, and cookies. We made Halloween costumes and spooky delights. We made forts, camps, and canoe trips. We built cub cars, lego universes, and the land before time. We built garages, sheds, shelves, and projects. We grow gardens to harvest. We make bread, jam, and pickles. We create the best pizza for miles around.
I love my work because my learners push me every day to discover new ways to help them reach their goals.