"I've always imagined being a teacher, from the time I was a small child and received a little desk for Christmas," says Kathy Collins. "I used to fantasize about wearing a masking tape roll on my wrist, using a pointer, writing on a chalkboard, and collecting book order money."
But when Kathy went to college, she chose another career path. After working in advertising for a couple of years, she knew that she needed to get back to her original plan and become a teacher.
Kathy is a graduate of Syracuse University with a B.A. in advertising/art history, and she also earned a master's degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Teachers College. During her career, she's been an English as a second language teacher in Japan, a first-grade teacher in Brooklyn, N.Y., and an adjunct instructor at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. She currently teaches at reading institutes across the country and consults with schools and districts.
"I love being with children, figuring things out with them, developing warm relationships with families, thinking with colleagues, and doing work that means so much in the world," Kathy explains. "I love organizing a classroom and wrapping my mind around a child in order to figure out how best to meet his/her learning needs and to support students' hopes for themselves."
When it comes to professional development, Kathy thinks of it in two ways: from her perspective as a classroom teacher and from her perspective as a staff developer. "As a teacher, I was eager for professional development and opportunities to think and talk about how to improve my work and craft....I want to find an environment where professional sharing is the norm rather than the exception," Kathy explains. "As a staff developer, my first instinct is to try to figure out where teachers are with regard to their knowledge-base and their attitudes towards the topics we are studying together. I try to build a relationship with teachers characterized by trust and mutual respect so that we all feel comfortable taking risks and asking questions of each other."
When working on a book, Kathy likes to keep a notebook where she can collect bits and pieces from her work and life that pertain to the book. "I decide on a broad topic and as I figure out the blueprint for how the book might go the topic usually narrows quite a bit. I tend to try to figure out an outline for chapters first, and then I hit it!"
Kathy and her husband Ian, have two sons, Owen and Theo. They love to travel and visit family and friends. Kathy also likes to read, run, play outside, and she is trying to learn to knit and cook.