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Virginia Journal of Education

Ten Minutes with…Melissa Warren

  Instructional Technology Resource Teacher
Local Assn.:  Bristol Virginia Education Association (Co-President)     
Years worked in education: 32

What is a typical school day like for you?
I work in four elementary schools so my days are anything but typical. The teachers know when to expect me, so they usually schedule time with me in advance. I may be working in a classroom, or I may be fixing something that isn’t working correctly. I'm also responsible for adding new students to the various programs we use daily and getting the login information to the teachers, and I meet weekly with new teachers to offer assistance as needed.

 I might assist a teacher with a Kahoot in Virginia Studies or be in the computer lab with first-graders. This year, many of our teachers are using a new lesson plan format in OneNote. I help them  complete their plans and share them with their principal, reading specialist, math coach and other teachers. I'm also sometimes in the office assisting one of the secretaries with the student information system. 

 At least two days a week, I work in the afterschool programs, helping students with keyboarding, an essential skill in today's world. I also work with fifth-graders on skills they'll need to know before they're immersed in the technology of middle school. On the other days, I meet with teachers and do after-school trainings.

What do you like about your job?
I like the variety. I never have the same day twice. This can be challenging, but also very rewarding. I've seen teachers grow in their technology use and skills. It's exciting to see them take initiative and tackle projects they never dreamed they would do. This keeps me on my toes to stay ahead of them with new technology as it emerges. I love collaborating with teachers to create lessons and projects that will inspire our students.

What is hard about your job?
The hardest part is also never being in the same building two days in a row. It's difficult to accomplish all  I want when I have to wait a week to get back to teachers or students. I don’t have the opportunity to build relationships with students like I did when I worked in a classroom. Another challenge is keeping up with all the new technologies that keep emerging every day. I will never know everything I want or need to know, but I sure do try!

What are some of the most fun and unusual things that have happened on the job?
I don’t know if this will qualify, but it means a lot to me and it sure was “fun” and unusual. I fought cancer a few years ago, and I learned what quality people I work with here in Bristol. Each Thursday, when I had chemo treatments, the teachers and students in my schools would have “Pink Thursday,” wearing pink and sending pictures to me while I was being treated. I even got a video one week. These expressions of support were often what got me through the day. Dr. Lineburg, our former superintendent, allowed me to work at Central Office during my recovery. When I lost my hair, everyone at the office wore a hat to make me feel more comfortable. I could go on and on about the many acts of kindness that were given to me during these months. I will forever be grateful to my colleagues.

How has being an Association member been helpful to you?
I've been a member for many years and, as I've gotten more involved, I've realized the importance of membership. The Association is so much more than just an insurance policy. I've had the opportunity to meet educators not just in Virginia, but from across the country. It is exciting to network with these folks and bring back new ideas. VEA has given me the training I need to become a better leader for our members.

I have also been able to attend conventions, the Put Kids First Rally, and Lobby Day. These events have shown me how important my membership is to my daily school life. My voice is able to join with thousands of others to advocate for my profession. Being Co-President of BVEA is a challenge, but I welcome that challenge, and hope that I can inspire our members to raise their voices as we continue to advocate for public education.


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