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 in Baltimore, Maryland and Harlem, New York.
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, Valenciá was inspired to resign and fully focus on completing her doctoral studies, which led to establishing the foundation of her own educational practice.
Today, Valenciá still serves in the educational field as an adjunct professor and a freelance designer/facilitator of teacher professional development programs. She finds this work allows her to provide literacy support to learners and educators, while maintaining the freedom to healthily grow her educational practice and family 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. As she grew more conscious of social justice, so did her writing. In 2016, she flourished from blogging to becoming the author of “Soundless Cries Don’t Lead to Healing: A Critical Thinking Guide to Cultural Consciousness,” providing a self-paced guidebook to help readers transform their perspectives on multi-cultural issues, through self-reflection and critical conversations.
Fast forward to 2023, she is a neuroeducation research student pursuing an EdD at Johns Hopkins University. Her focus is Mind, Brain, and Teaching. She is actively applying the knowledge she gathers about neurodiverse learning to reform Valenciá’s Garden from being a reflective educational community blog, into GrowCery Garden—a virtual bookshop with resources to help the community grow their creativity and productivity.
One of GrowCery Garden’s first resource tools, the G.R.O.W. Beyond Creative Barriers Productivity Guide, also known as the “grow guide,” was drawn from Valenciá’s initial pivot from life as a full-time educator to life as an entrepreneurial-driven doctoral student.
During her doctoral journey, she was often mentally overwhelmed and failed at her first attempt to design her dissertation‘s intervention due to the psychological impact of traumatic personal issues unfolding in her life (which caused ruminating thoughts and a reformation of her sense of identity). At the end of year 2 and all of year 3, she persevered and leveraged this experience. As she grew her mind, she documented her musings on social media and developed GrowCery Garden’s budding virtual community of folks who support each other with achieving goals, especially when its not easy to concentrate and complete tasks because of disorganization, procrastination, and mental distractions. With the community’s engagement, she designed/used/re-designed the “grow guide” that freed her from her creative barriers.
Today, she is working on both her dissertation and modifying the “grow guide” to meet the needs of her college learners, who joined a virtual GrowCery Garden expert panel discussion and revealed the creative barriers they experience because of academic emotions such as anxiety, boredom, and maladaptive-focus habits.
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