PHutures – 100 Alumni Voices »

Amanda Palmer

“Being a part of this program took a curiosity into a space of I can make change. I can be effective and really influence the lives of people.”

School of Education

Education, EdD 2022

Founder/CEO of Palmer Educational Services; DEIB Coordinator, English Teacher, Chair of Middle School Teaching & Learning, Instructional Coach, Assistant Director of Summer School at The Lab School of Washington

Amanda‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss what led Amanda to pursue a doctorate in education at Johns Hopkins, her experience in the EdD program and its impact on her belief in herself to affect real systemic change, and her take on the importance of self-reflection and her creative advice for new teachers entering the classroom.

Learn More About Amanda‘s Story

To some, a profession is “just a job,” but to me teaching has been part of my core identity for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories include playing school with stuffed animals, family members, and apparently bedroom furniture (as evidenced in this photo from the 80’s). Since then, my appetite for learning and desire to help others has remained insatiable—and I’m lucky that it still often feels like play.

I theorize that I come by it genetically; I come from a long line of helpers, including multiple social workers and educators. I was raised by people who were raised by people who educate, support, and build community. It’s no wonder that teaching and my identity are inextricably linked. I feel most energized when I am working in a community of learners I’ve built, and I’m able to break apart complex concepts into digestible component parts. My communities of learners will always shift in tandem with life chapters, but the feeling of completeness I gain from teaching today is just as much at the core of my personhood as it was when I read to furniture.

Nature, of all kinds, is my happy place. I am the most at peace and the most hopeful when the magnificence of the natural world is before me. Like my mother, there is something calming and centering I find about being near water—especially when waves are involved. Like my father, I feel committed to take care of Mother Earth and do so in a way that honors our indigenous predecessors. Like many of my ancestors, I most especially appreciate the unplanned adventures and hidden treasures that come with exploring in nature.

Our world can be ugly. Society is plagued by systemic racism, endless acts of gun violence, and boundless bigotry. We must address the ugly corners head-on, which can feel massively overwhelming. Being in nature, especially in corners of the world not frequented by others, reminds me who I am, helps me find myself when I feel lost, and energizes me to fight the ugly. Nature keeps me thinking about both literally and figuratively making the world a better place for generations to come.