Mary Asgill, TUSD's new District Writing Coach, has worked in TUSD for 13 years.
Where did you work prior to TUSD?
Ceres Unified School District as an Instructional Coach and English teacher
What is an average day in your job?
Right now, the “average” is still unfolding, so I don’t exactly know what average looks like yet. But one of the joys of this job is getting to talk with teachers and administrators about what their vision for writing looks like in their classrooms and at their sites – how it might fit in with the culture and climate of their schools, of their students’ lives and how writing connects to how and what students are learning.
What are you most proud of?
Sticking to my workout routine. It’s finally become part of my lifestyle. I used to hate everything about exercising, so I hired a perky 20-something trainer at my gym to help me stay motivated to move. I admire people who can just do it on their own. For me, I just feel blessed that my body can do what I ask it to do. That’s a pretty incredible feeling.
What are your challenges?
…the regular challenges teachers have, working to balance work life and home life…all the stuff we deal with…working hard in this challenging profession, family obligations, raising children, care-giving for elderly parents, church, volunteering, finding time for friends, advising student clubs, attending meetings, doing laundry, running errands, the regular stuff…finding balance and working toward harmony.
What is your favorite memory/story?
One of my favorite memories is crawfishing with my dad. I was always struck by how much he valued silence. He told me that he couldn’t take me fishing unless I was quiet because I’d scare the fish. I think I read someplace that that was a myth…anyway, because I was mad about having to sit quietly, for every dozen or so crawfish he caught, I grabbed the tongs and let at least half of ‘em go. When we got home, he told our neighbor that he hadn’t reeled in very many this time – then he just turned around and stared at me. Not sure if he knew, but that tiny bit of passive resistance felt good. But I’m sure the silence felt just as good to him.
What are you reading?
Oh, gosh! Lots of pedagogy, lots of research – which I love – but also rereading two books: Zadie Smith’s,
, and lots of children’s books – especially Katherine Applegate’s,
The One and Only Ivan
, a book my P.E. colleague and friend, Joanne Davison, gave me. A beautiful book: the human condition seen through the eyes of a gorilla. A must read.
What are you watching?
Haha. Watching TV is how I turn off my brain. I like a daily dose of
The Carmichael Show
Avatar: The Last Air Bender
(a cartoon series from 2008).
Anything surprising we may not know about you?
When I’ve had a horrible day, I play the flute. I’m not that good. Not too many horrible days.
What else should we know about you?
Can’t live without comedy! Name the comedian, I’ve seen her/him…or will probably get tickets. Love to hike. Joined a meet-up called the “Lazy A** Hiker’s Club” – for people over 50 who like short hikes and moving slowly. Enjoying big beautiful trees with great conversationalists. Heavenly.