We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandi Jenkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandi, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
I started Ausome EDscursions because I saw a need for curriculum in the classroom that would enable students of all cognitive abilities to engage in core content in a way that felt valuable.
Most of the curriculum that was provided by the district was too advanced for students who were unable to read, write, or communicate verbally. It was simply paragraphs of information with limited visual aids and comprehension questions concerning those paragraphs of information.
My curriculum includes visual aids that allow teachers to maximize student achievement because they accompany leveled text and can be used to increase student comprehension. This would have been invaluable to me as a first-year teacher because my degree was not in education and although I was involved in my district’s alternative certification program that didn’t necessarily help with the curriculum that was provided because it wasn’t geared towards students who couldn’t read or write.
Ideally I’d love for my curriculum to be placed in classrooms across the district and then the state because it’s not a resource that you have to add a lot to in order for it to be effective. I’d also love to branch out and develop curriculum for other grade levels and content areas as well as support new teachers who enter the exceptional student education field as a mentor.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As previously stated what sets my curriculum apart from others is the fact that it’s a leveled text and includes visual supports to assist students in fully comprehending the topic being taught. This definitely helps you just print and go which can be especially helpful as a new teacher when you are still learning how to teach.
I’m most excited about creating resources for the different content areas and grade levels. It definitely hasn’t been easy creating these resources while simultaneously teaching, especially in the middle of a pandemic. But there’s definitely a need for it and it’s exciting once I have a finished product and can post it. Time management has been essential for my work-life balance because I’ve seen just how damaging it can be on my mental health not to give myself a break as well as when I focus too intently on making a product perfect.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way: 1) invest in a good laptop 2) always, always, ALWAYS back up your data 3) learn how to ask for help. If there’s something you can’t do ask someone who knows instead of trudging through. Be teachable.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would definitely have to hit the beach no doubt about it. Ybor city for the food, bars, and tours. Plus we can people watch in both spots and something interesting is bound to occur
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost I wouldn’t be where I’m at without God. In those moments where I wasn’t sure if this was the path that I should go on or simply felt defeated I always had my faith to fall back on as well as his Word.
I also definitely want to give a big shoutout to my immediate family and friends. From sharing social media post to recommending my resources to parents and other teachers they’ve been a huge help in helping me get established in this field.