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priscila dilley for mom next door, photo by Nick Prendergast

Educator Priscila Dilley Shares Her Favorite Things

a learning app, a memorable gift and more

Our Mom Next Door Priscila Dilley—who leads a partnership between Texas Wesleyan University and Fort Worth ISD—shares her favorite things, from what made her laugh and books for kids, to a gift that will make you cry.

Favorite books for children
“I love all the C.S. Lewis novels—The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician’s Nephew—all those novels are so rich in history and have so many applications to the real world.”

Education app she recommends
Quizlet is such a neat app. Teachers can go in and design different ways for kids to study for tests, anything from flashcards to little games. I like it as a parent; I like it as an educator. I think it’s very helpful.”

A podcast she likes
“The last one I listened to was Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. I love to laugh as an outlet. I love to learn and do all that, but I also need some ‘me time.’”

Read the full interview with Priscila Dilley here.

The book on her nightstand
“I just started My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. I think it’s going to be great—it’s the Alexander Hamilton story from the perspective of Eliza. I like historical fiction. And murder mysteries, light, fun reading. I’m always reading something.” 

Best gift she received from a student
“I worked at a school that was 98% economically disadvantaged; I think it is a household income of $18,000. I had a kindergarten student who always complimented me on my shoes. Every time I’d sit down, she would touch my shoes. And for Christmas, she bought me these black high heels. And who wears high heels as a kindergarten teacher? But she wanted to get me a pair of shoes. And I know it was a sacrifice for her and that she really thought about what I liked. And so I did wear them [to school] and had to put my feet up. But it was worth it.”

Favorite parenting book
“I’ve read The Five Love Languages for Children by Gary Chapman. It’s about learning your child, learning what makes their heartbeat and how you can express your love in different ways—because children are, and people in general are, all built and wired differently.”

Top tips for getting kids excited to learn
“I think one of the main things is to make connections to what kids enjoy. You tap into things that they connect with and they’re going to be hooked. And then hands-on activities, anything that has anything to do with discovery or experiential learning—they love that. When we go to schools, all our kids say they love science class the most, and it’s because they’re doing their experiments and getting really hands-on. So we have to make sure they have those kinesthetic opportunities to learn as well, not just ‘sit and get.’”

How she practices self-care
“I love working out. I love spending time with my family. I’m very involved in my church. And traveling. I like doing all of those things that I see as taking care of myself and making myself better.”

For creating better scholars
One of the things we always promote to our teachers is making sure that you’re incorporating movement into learning, providing children brain breaks. Kids need to move around so they can regroup. And [adults are] like that too. We have to get up and move around and make sure that we’re giving ourselves a brain break.”

This article was originally published in January 2021.

Photo by Nick Prendergast