Life Outside of being a Wizard Girl
When we run out on the court in our white heeled boots, curled hair, and sequins costumes, it is hard to believe that being a Wizard Girl isn’t the only job we have. As a surprise to many fans, the girls you see smiling and dancing on the Verizon Center court are also software engineers, project managers, broadcast journalists, dietitians, marketing directors, among many other notable professions. For me, I spend my life outside of the Verizon Center in an elementary school classroom as a Special Education teacher, teaching students with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, dyslexia, autism, and emotional disabilities.
My day begins at 8:00am when tons of smiling faces burst open the classroom door. I greet them with, “Good Morning!” “Did you turn in your homework?” “Get started on your morning work!” The day moves quickly with meticulously planned math, science, social studies, writing, and language arts lessons. Every day brings different excitement; whether it is a student’s birthday, a spelling test, or a school assembly, there is never a dull moment. To some people it can be just another work day, but to young students it’s the day they learned their multiplication tables, the day they finally passed a reading test, or the day they mustered up enough confidence to present their project in front of their class, despite their disability.
It is an amazing feeling to see a child light up when you realize you made a difference in his or her life. I find everyday so rewarding and never take a moment for granted, because that could be the day I change a child’s life. I have always loved school and learning, I guess you could say I was a bit of a nerd growing up. But this is why my goal as an educator is to instill the same value of education into my students and teach them how to love learning, for the rest of their lives. I always tell my students to follow their dreams and never give up, no matter what struggles they may face. I teach them that hard work, drive, and perseverance can allow them to conquer their goals. I have been able to make my dreams a reality and I want my students to also believe that they can make their dreams come true and that they are limitless.
At 3:15pm the students leave and the whirlwind of young energy leaves with them. But a job of a teacher doesn’t end there. That’s when papers are graded, emails are returned, parents are called, copies are made, and lessons are planned. I spend nights and weekends, when I am not dancing or at a promotional appearance, writing my students’ Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in order to give them the free appropriate public education that they deserve with the necessary accommodations and modifications. I assess their performance on their current educational goals to ensure they are making adequate progress. I use any free second I get during the day to review dances, look over practice notes, or reply to appearance requests from Coach Derric.
Although my days can be very busy with juggling two jobs, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I feel so lucky that I am able to pursue my two passions in life, teaching and dancing. When I leave my work day there isn’t any other place I’d rather be than at practice with 19 of my best friends, or on the court dancing for thousands of fans. We power through our days because we love to dance, perform, cheer on our Washington Wizards, and support the DC community. Being a Wizard Girl has definitely tested my endurance both physically and mentally, but I feel so privileged to be a part of such an amazing organization.
It’s easy to forget there is another world outside of the poms, boots, and glitter when you step onto the court. My worry about my student’s reading log is placed at the back of my mind when the cheers and chants of fans fill the Verizon Center on game day. But when the fourth quarter buzzer goes off and we file back into the locker room, our poms and boots get put away, and our ‘Wizard Girl persona’ comes off with it. It is at that moment when we put back on our ‘every day persona’ and get ready for another exhilarating day. I admire each and every one of my teammates because not only are they talented dancers and performers, but they are also hardworking, successful women who have found another niche where they excel. Although our lives as Wizard Girls are exciting, we want our fans to know that there is another part of our lives that we find just as rewarding!