Meet Erica Bristor, early childhood educator, lover of live music, sporting events, and baking.
Hi there, Erica!
How long have you been in the field of education? Why did you decide to enter it? What is your role?
I’ve been an educator for five years, and I just said “WOW” out loud! How quickly the time has gone. It always seems like we’re counting down to something and when it finally arrives, it seems like it came too soon! The days drag on at times, but the years—they fly by.
It’s so cookie cutter, but I wanted to make a small difference in the lives of children in even just a tiny way. I have been a kid-magnet ever since I was a young child. As told to me by my mom, I would be at family events, gathering all the children and organizing them, starting at age five. I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else as a profession. I love teaching so much, even when things get tough. I can’t wait to go to work every day, and I know that love will never change because when your job is your passion, is it really work?
My current role is as Pre-K teacher in Houston, Texas. It is my fourth year at my school. I’m originally from Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (a small town south of Pittsburgh), and I remain a huge Pittsburgh Steeler fan! I love live music and sporting events as well as baking (my favorite: red velvet cake)! Fun facts: I mined coal as the Coal Queen when I was a senior in high school and got to address the Pennsylvania House and Senate. I’m a huge adrenaline junkie and enjoy going to amusement parks. I moved by myself across the country for my current job four years ago in July. Reflecting, I am incredibly thankful for my courage to accomplish what I did!
Certain days (must be noted that I’m sappy), small things my students do can bring tears of joy to my eyes. Just this week, another one of my students started to read, and I couldn’t contain how proud of was. I don’t know who was beaming with pride more, my student or me. One of the coolest parts of teaching is when they achieve something new, and I get the luxury of experiencing those moments all the time. Besides, I don’t know many other jobs where you can get 50+ hugs per day! On my saddest day, the kids walk through the door, and I don’t even remember why I was upset. It’s a joy to be a teacher.
In what ways can/should the current system of education be transformed or liberated?
We need to make our curriculums without bias and have access for all children. We need all children to be represented not only in the curriculum in what we teach, but in literature as well.
How could teacher training better prepare people to work respectfully and effectively with students and families from various racial, cultural and religious backgrounds, as well as different social classes, sexual orientations, genders, abilities, etc.?
I was never given any kind of anti-racist, anti-bias educational training when I was in college, but I sure wish I had. Everything I have learned has been from experience, my own research or reading, or using friends for help and support. As a white woman, I recognize the privileges that come with that, and with this type of training in school, teachers can be better prepared to teach in a way that supports each family and child.
Is teaching inherently political? Why or why not?
Absolutely, I don’t feel there’s truly a way we can separate the two.