Teacher Profle: Ms. Shepard

Get to know the enthusiastic history teacher

Raina Kasera, Staff Writer

What is it like having your whole family associated with PDS?

“I think it’s a wonderful thing! I mean, PDS definitely feels like a second home to me, and it is just nice to have a shared experience with my husband and my kids, who, when they come home, I kind of have a real sense of what their day was like. We can talk about school, we can see how things are, so it does feel like a second home.”

You play a major role in organizing PDS’ international trips. What are some of the countries you have visited with PDS students?

“With PDS kids, I’ve taken trips to India twice and China once, and we’re going [to China] again this summer.”

What have you and your students learned from these travels?

“I think there’s so much learning that happens, [regarding] both the academic connections that are made, but more importantly, how, as an individual, you can really stretch yourself out of your comfort zone and learn things about yourself that, in much more comfortable areas of your life, you might not know. I think that idea of self awareness you gain about who you are, what your strengths are, [and] the perseverance and determination that comes with being outside of what you’re comfortable [with], outside of what you know, really is a great confidence builder. I think it generates a lot of grit in kids to overcome obstacles and challenges independently and so far away from home.”

What is your favorite part of your job?

“My favorite part really is the students. The minute I walk into the classroom, I’m so happy to just be there with the kids, sharing what I love and hearing their reactions and watching them think about these things. I also really love my colleagues and just learning from them [and] what they are doing in their classrooms. I love the fact that everyday is a different experience. There’s always things to do and goals to accomplish. I think in many ways, I would never see myself working in any other atmosphere than a school, and especially PDS.”

What is one fact about yourself that students may not know?

“They probably know, but something about me that I’m really proud of is the fact that I was born and lived in Puerto Rico most of my life. Another thing that they may or may not know is [that] I’m an only child, so that’s unusual, maybe? I am [also] really bad at sports, but I can run- not fast, but long.”

What helps you relax at the end of the day?

“At the end of the day, I would say a good TV watching session is a good way of relaxing. I haven’t gotten to watch a lot of TV recently, because it’s been very busy, but there are defnitely a number of shows that are a bit of guilty pleasures. Downton Abbey is a favorite, Survivor is a guilty pleasure, and I love Modern Family [and] Big Bang Theory kind of things.”