Associate Professor Paige Ware is Director of the Ph.D. in Education program at Southern Methodist University.
Prior to earning her doctorate in Education, Language, Literacy, and Culture at the University of California at Berkeley, she was an English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher. Fluent in Spanish and German, she was a
Get to know Dr. Ware a little bit better:
Q: What influenced your decision to become a professor?
A: Many factors, but near the top is a belief in the power of schools as sites of opportunities. I grew up in a small Appalachian town in Kentucky, where inequities in public schooling between the rural and urban populations were so pronounced at that time that our schools were reconstituted in the late 1980s. As a senior in high school in that period (in one of the underfunded schools), I served as a student representative on one of the reform boards, and listening to those heady discussions among our state school leaders prompted my desire to, one day, have a voice in such discussions about how to keep the ideals of public education alive. I also had some amazing teachers along the way (as I hope that most of us do), and reading and writing have always been at the heart of both my hobbies and my work—so, overall, being a professor allows for a nice marriage of these motivations and interests.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your profession?
A: Time! I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store in this profession—the challenge has always been and still is how to choose among the many enticing options when we only have a limited amount of time. Even after over two decades as an educator, I still wish for more time to learn about my students and savor our unique moments, to try out new ideas and linger in familiar ones, and to experience the different kinds of energy that are unique to every classroom.
Q: What do you enjoy most about teaching?
A: The jitters. As my southern family would say, I get so “tickled” by that sensation of creating something out of nothing that arises from coming together with others to think new thoughts and generate new experiences. The act of teaching brings an energetic kind of focus to our busy lives—lives that involve so much information streaming at us constantly and so many responsibilities coming at us from every side. When teachers come together to focus, even for a few hours, on learning more about their craft, I am simply honored to be a part of shaping those learning experiences with them.
Q: What is one of your favorite teaching experiences?
A: What a hardball question! There are so many! The experiences I’ve had with youth and teachers around technology are among my favorites, because we use technology as a vehicle to connect and communicate with people around the globe. When I hear certain types of comments at the beginning of these projects that show what an impact the new experience is going to have, those are the moments I savor. One ten-year-old boy, for example, came to class his first day about 10 years ago, stared at the big old Apple computer, and exclaimed, “I’ve NEVER used one of those—ever—really!” Collaborating with teachers and youth to create, send, and receive letters and multimedia projects with partners worldwide is inspiring. I like to help open those doors.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do in Dallas?
A: I’m an outdoor woman at heart, so jogging at White Rock Lake offers a glimpse of the kind of natural beauty that even cities can provide. With the urban twist here in Dallas comes the added enjoyment of appreciating nature with others, so for me time spent at the Dallas Arboretum—and particularly the Children’s Garden—is certainly a favorite!Share on Facebook