Cheryl Shane, owner of HootofLoot.com, is an Oklahoma educator, wife, and mom. New Mexico born but Oklahoma-raised, Cheryl double majored in elementary education and music at the University of Tulsa. She obtained a Master of Science degree in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership with an emphasis in Reading & Literacy from Oklahoma State University in 2005. She has been teaching in Oklahoma schools for the past 17 years, beginning her career with Tulsa Public Schools and she is currently a 5th grade teacher for the University School at the University of Tulsa. She has been a presenter at the Oklahoma Encyclo-Media conference and Oklahoma Association for the Gifted, Creative, & Talented conference.
My teaching backstory
During the past 17 years, I have gained experience teaching a wide range of subjects, students from PK-8, and in many different classroom settings. Presently, I teach 5th grade at a great school with wonderful colleagues. I call myself an “educational late-bloomer” and pure happenstance during my college years led me toward a teaching career. While growing up, I was used to hitting milestones later than my peers, so I developed the virtue of patience. I had the patience to figure out the perfect career path for me and the wisdom to know the best things are worth waiting for. I discovered through volunteer work, that I enjoyed teaching children and I was able to use my creativity similar to a favorite hobby. While I am thankful I took the path that led me to a career in education, I was not always certain it was my calling. When I look back on my first-year, I remember entering the profession so naive to the challenges of being a teacher and landing at a hard-to-staff school. My inexperience in life led me down a garden path where I was taken advantage of that first year by administration, fellow teachers, and streetwise students. I was oblivious to the realities of being a first-year teacher, compounded by the fact that I had signed a contract that classified me as basically a “permanent sub.” I did not qualify for the district’s minimum starting salary AND my first year did not even count toward a salary step. After that overly stressful first-year with little pay, I was on my way to fleeing the profession, but I did end up returning to that school the following fall. The late-bloomer in me had gotten me in a mess, but it also helped me to stick it out–I had to prove myself once again. My persistence paid off and today, I enjoy the many gifts teaching can bring to one’s sense of professional and personal satisfaction. I enjoy helping children learn what they need to know, especially the unconventional learners in which I see so much of my younger self. Some say there are no do-overs in life, but with every school year, teachers get a clean slate to improve as an educator. I strive to grow professionally every year and help other educators in the process, which is a premise behind HootofLoot.com.
How HootofLoot.com came to be
HootofLoot.com is the brainchild of my husband and I while thinking about what to do with many of my teaching materials during the midst of transitioning to a new position. We both thought, “Is there a website for teachers to sell their usable teaching materials and maybe get some of their money back?” I know that every year, especially those first years, I spent so much of my own money on teaching materials, consumables for my students, and just about everything that goes into a smooth running classroom. Oklahoma is ranked 47th in state spending per pupil, relying on its dedicated teachers to fill funding gaps by buying their own classroom supplies on some of the lowest salaries in the nation. My personal experiences with needing to buy my own classroom materials with a barely there paycheck is one of the main reasons HootofLoot.com is so important to me. HootofLoot.com is a convenient way for teachers to connect with other teachers who want to buy or sell used personal teaching supplies or other educational materials.
During my seventeen years teaching, I somehow found a way to get married and start a family. My husband and I have been married for thirteen years and we have a daughter and a son. We love to do things as a family: traveling near and far; exploring different cultures of the world through food; hiking and taking in nature’s beauty; and watching the performing arts. We are always up for a road trip because it is a sure way for us to experience all of our favorite things together as a family.
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