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For the first 12 years of her teaching career, Valenciá taught the subjects of English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Humanities to 8th grade learners, during the day, and trained pre-service teachers, as a professor of Critical Literacy, at night.
After helping the last 6-12th grade school she was serving, secure a technology grant from Verizon Innovative Learning Schools - Digital Promise, she was asked to take on the role of coaching teachers on best practices for virtual learning. At the end of the coaching year, Valencia hit a mental roadblock due to personal problems and took a sabbatical from the profession. She planned to establish the foundation of her own educational practice—which she considered the solution to some of her problems.
It only took 12 months out of the classroom for her to return to education. After feeling like she gave herself enough space to heal her mind and rebuild her focus, Valenciá found she had the capacity to rejoin the workforce as an adjunct professor of English Language Arts at Morgan State University and an EL Education professional develop facilitator with K-8 school districts across the United States. As much as she wanted to be a full time entrepreneur, she also needed to cover the rest of her student loans, doctoral tuition, and invest into her educational practice.
Currently, she finds, these two jobs are financially supporting her to pay off debt and giving her invaluable experience and insight into the needs of learners in higher education and how to grow an impactful educational consulting and resource service. This work is intrinsically rewarding, as it allows her to provide highly-effective literacy support to educators and learners, while maintaining the freedom to grow other areas of her life.
Valenciá started ValenciásGarden.com in 2013. At the start, it was a blog to monitor her own self-discoveries, growth, creativity, and learning journey, as an educator. In 2016, she became the author of “Soundless Cries Don’t Lead to Healing: A Critical Thinking Guide to Cultural Consciousness,” providing a zine-style manual to help readers heal through self-reflection and critical conversations.
Currently, she is a neuroeducation research student, studying the science of human-growth and brain development and using this knowledge to reform Valenciá’s Garden from being a reflective educational community blog, into GrowCery Garden—virtual resources to grow beyond creative barriers.
One of GrowCery Garden’s first resource tools is the Grow Beyond Creative Barriers G.R.O.W. Guide, drawn from Valenciá’s current experience as an EdD student at Johns Hopkins University, managing her dissertation studies with the traumatic events unfolding in her life. In designing the guide and documenting her creative journey on Instagram, she has developed a budding virtual community of support with learning creative independence.
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