Image above Ms. Wasson's classroom door
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Da Vinci Staff Spotlight!
Shannon Wasson, 7th & 8th grade Language Arts
What’s the best part of your job?
Just being with the kids!
What’s the book you’re recommending? Internment by Samira Ahmed
I picked this book originally because of the cover, of what it says on her hat. It says “Resist.” I’ve been trying to include books with a lot more social justice topics into my “reading diet.” While I was reading the book it made me more aware of my own biases -- biases that I didn’t know I had about “outsiders.” I realized, instead of relying on assumptions I need to always take the time to learn more of the story behind a person. I loved Ahmed’s first book, Love, Hate, and Other Filters but I loved this one even more.
What book did you read when you were a kid where you saw someone like you?
The author who was the most influential on me when I was growing up was Judy Blume, in particular her book Tiger Eyes because the main character’s parents were going through a divorce and my parents were going through a divorce. I felt like the words between the pages of my favorite books' were written just for me. Books and the characters in them were my companions: they never let me down, I learned from their triumphs and their mistakes, and they helped me to feel less alone in the world. It was because of books that I started to journal and eventually write my own stories. It is because of reading and writing that I survived my parents' divorce, adolescence, and became a teacher.
What book did you read when you were a teen that you said, “This reading thing is pretty great!”
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read this book for the first time when I was going into 7th grade. It just blew my socks off for a number of reasons. One, because the father figure in the book was such a great father figure that I didn’t have that I wanted really badly. I try to read it once a year or so to get different perspectives of the book at different ages. The scene painted above my classroom door is the courtroom scene from this book.
You have a lot of stuff in your room. How do you keep it all organized?
Color systems! Organize things by color.
What is a place you enjoy visiting in Portland (or other parts of the universe)?
I bought the book about all the hidden staircase walking around Portland and found it enjoyable but very hard to do. Incredible views once you got up to the top and interesting nooks and crannies I’ve never seen before. I also love going to Forest Park.
Do you have a special way your family likes to celebrate a holiday or being together?
Mother’s Day for me is always really special. My mom’s an only child and I’m an only child. So Mother’s Day has become an important day for mom and me to catch up. We get pedicures, eat good food, maybe see a movie.
Speaking of your mom, I see her at school a lot. How often is she here?
My mom, Nona, is here at least once a week. She’s been volunteering in my classroom for as long as I’ve been here which has been 20 years. By the way, she reads everything I put in front of her.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Nona has always told me, You’re okay just the way you are!
Interviewed by Susan Robertson, Oct. 2019
Nicole Accardi, Drama Teacher
What’s a favorite part of your job at da Vinci?
The best part of my job is my students. I love building relationships between myself and my students and helping my students build relationships with each other....building an ensemble really.
What’s the book you’re recommending?
It’s Trevor Noah: Born A Crime I couldn’t put it down because his life experiences were so incredibly different than my own and yet at the same time I felt like I could really empathize with him and the things that he went through because he was writing from such a truthful place. It inspired me to do some scene work from Athol Fugard’s plays for this coming quarter. One of the plays, “My Children! My Africa!” takes place in South Africa like Trevor Noah’s book (and childhood). Noah was writing about Apartheid from such an accessible place. I plan on encouraging students to read his book in partnership to the play “My Children! My Africa!”
Do you want to add anything more about the book or author?
I have such a celebrity crush on Trevor Noah from his TV show but after reading the book even more so. What a phenomenal human being. Oh my gosh I love him!
What book did you read when you were a kid or teen that you said, “This reading thing is pretty great!”
My Ah-ha reading book was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelo because of the female experience and a kinship of both of us having experienced abuse. It was a very healing book for me.
Being a drama teacher looks like it takes a lot of organization. How do you stay organized? Do you have any tips?
I use a planner! I write down all the things I need to get done and I also write To-Do lists.I have a pad of paper that says “To-Do” that I check daily and I add to it when new things come up.
Do you have a favorite holiday or a special way your family likes to celebrate a holiday or being together?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love cooking with my sister. We make homemade pasta.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
...to be grateful...
Interviewed by Susan Robertson, Sept. 2019