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Reba Gordon Matthews

Reba Gordon Matthews is an Educational Consultant with Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt and a a Freelance Coach and Instructional Designer creating eLearning and learner experience courses. She has over 20 years of elementary teaching experience and has served as an adjunct instructor for Early Childhood Education courses. She holds a Masters in Educational Technology and a Masters in Instructional Design.

As a way of “Paying It Forward,” Reba is also the co-founder and Executive Director of The Jamal Gordon-Hill Foundation. This small family organization supports at-risk young people with academic tutoring, technology training, and college scholarships.

Some of Reba Gordon's Webinars

Q & A with Reba Gordon Matthews

If you weren't in education, what do you think you'd be doing and why?

If I were not in education, I would be an archaeologist studying ancient cultures in Africa, South America, Greece, Asia, and Caribbean. I love to travel and learn about other cultures and how they live. I have always been interested in learning about other cultures, traditions and lifestyles. Also, traveling to other countries has been some of my best memories and has helped me become more globally connected with others.

When you were a kid, you wanted to be a ______? Why?

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. I always forced my younger siblings to play school all the time, and I was always the teacher. I enjoyed school because I had some outstanding teachers who made school exciting and had excellent classroom management. As a teenager, I volunteered as an afterschool tutor and helped teachers at Vacation Bible School and preschool programs. I was delighted watching the excitement on the little kids' faces when they learned something new or were successful at a task.

What's your idea of happiness?

My idea of happiness is to have a loving family that enjoys each other's company and working in a profession they truly enjoy. If these components are in place, I believe everyone would be able to live their lives to the fullest.

Twitter changed my life because:

Oh my has really changed my life! Twitter has globally connected me to people who are totally interested in the things, ideas, gadgets, and life's ups and downs that appeal to me. It has also provided me with the perfect PLN that has helped me grow in the field of education. I am to tweet resources and suggestions that can help others to integrate technology effectively within their daily curriculum. My teaching practices have improved because I have gained an enormous amount of resources through the daily tweets I receive. I have made friends on Twitter who have steered me to the best resources ever.

The teacher who had the biggest impact on me and why:

I had two teachers who had the biggest impact on me. Mrs. Tapp, my 4th grade teacher and Mr. Dunlap, my 6th grade teacher. I will have to say these two teachers impacted my style of teaching. Mrs. Tapp had the best classroom management and love for her students. She let the students know she was the facilitator of learning and demanded that we conduct ourselves in a manner that provided a safe environment that was conducive to learning. She also informed her students that she loved us no matter what we did, good or bad and that we could be anything we wanted in life. This is a motto I have maintained in my own teaching. Mr. Dunlap was the other. He was not as personable as Mrs. Tapp but kept the learning exciting and engaging. We studied about other countries, and he gave us regular Spanish lessons. He taught us how to read music and to play the flutophone. He was the leader of the school choir and our entire class was required to be participants in the choir. He had an organized way of teaching P.E. We learned a variety of games and practiced sportsmanship. We were required to keep organized notebooks and detailed notes from his lectures. These skills were the backbone to my excellent study habits throughout my high school and college years.

If you were dictator and had total control, tomorrow education would:

If I were dictator, education would require that every child learn at least 2 languages starting at kindergarten and learn the third as they start middle school. This would help our students accept diversity and stay globally connected. I would have a universal law where the workforce allowed their workers to have a day off every month so that parents/guardians could spend a day once a month at their child /grandchild, etc at their school. Hopefully this would provide a stronger school-home connection and would improve the academic success of all children.

I've always wanted to visit:

I have always wanted to visit Hawaii, Brazil, Jamaica, Senegal, and Paris, France.

What are your most treasured possessions?

My most treasured possessions beside my children and family would be the photos and videos of my family, friends, various teaching moments and my travels.

If you never had to worry about making money, what would you do?

If I never had to worry about making money, I would start a sports/technology/business magnet school for at-risk students. It would provide students with the skills and self-confidence to overcome any life obstacle and become successful individuals. Then during the summers, I would travel around the world with my family.