Educator + Performer = Eduformer*

Meet Miss Valerie Parker

For the love of Little Ones of ALL ages:

whether your Little Ones are your children, your students, your pets, or your SELF you’re (re)discoverying through recovery work or a spiritual journey.

Introducing Valerie, survivor:

I’m Valerie, survivor 

Of child sexual violence, 

Of bullying, gender, and slut shaming,

Adult child of an alcoholic

Survivor of domestic violence,

Recovering addict,

Advocating for consent culture starting with kids,

Training my trauma responses away

Through pole dance and performance.

Read more (prose version)

Sometimes childhood dreams REALLY DO come true. Soon after learning to read at age 6, Valerie wants to be an author when she grows up. The only problem is not having anything to write about—no purpose or stories dying to be told—YET!

This isn’t Valerie’s first taste of overcoming challenges, and it certainly won’t be her last. Her Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study score is high, having had numerous experiences associated with health and social problems across the lifespan: childhood rape, domestic violence, incarcerated family members, poverty, bullying, suicide, mental illness, addiction, death, complex PTSD,…

Taken to a foster home at age 5 with her little sister Kayla as the only family that she has left, Valerie is very serious and feels responsible for looking after her (even after being reunited with their big brother Aaron and Mom months later). Within the next year, Valerie survives rape and stays silent to avoid the risk of family separation again. She lives with domestic violence and alcoholism. Life could be unpredictable and scary, but she grows Big.

Introducing Valerie, word nerd:

I’m Valerie, word nerd

Loving languages and how they evolve,

Playing word games,

Processing through writing poetry, 

Sleeping with books in my bed

Covering all shiny surfaces in quotes, 

Inventing portmanteaus for circus combos.

Read more (prose version)

When challenges arise, Valerie seeks solutions in text, in classrooms, in mentorship. Her guides and heroes are her teachers. After her first visit to the library, she alphabetizes her own bookshelf and often walks long distances to visit the public library on the way home from school. Her love of reading is the culprit when she gets in trouble in orchestra class for reading during the WRONG time. Even now, often sleeping with a pile of books and journals in her bed, Valerie’s love of text persists. Using dry erase markers, she plasters her mirrors, walls, and every shiny surface she finds to write quotes on and ALWAYS totes a journal along.

Prone to having multiple favorites, Valerie loves word games most of all: 

☆portmanteau (an invented word combining 2 words like juggling + reciting poetry = juggetry), and

☆hink pink (a riddle where the answer is a pair of rhyming words; for example, what is a verbal virtuoso called? word nerd).

Introducing Auntie Valerie:

I am Auntie Valerie,

Rollerblading or crafting,

Chauffeuring or advising,

Found eating at the kid’s table most often,

Read more (prose version)

After years of reading Babysitter’s Club and practicing with Kayla, Valerie is trusted to babysit an infant all by herself when she is only 9 years old. Valerie goes on to become a nanny, a schoolteacher, and an auntie of her 5 favorite people: Brian, Andre, Anaya, Tryson, and Taylor, ages 11-15. Valerie cares for her sister Kayla during both of her pregnancies (including driving her and staying in the hospital instead of the absent father) and takes an active role in caring for the kids. Valerie jokes that she feels like a surrogate parent sometimes, but her favorite version of herself is auntie. She has even lived with her nieces and nephews at multiple points in their lives. She rediscovers play as an adult playing tag in the ice rink with her most similar niece, Anaya, who is Kayla’s daughter. 

Introducing Miss Parker, Teacher:

I’m Miss Parker, teacher

Sometimes a cheerleader,

I’ll hold your hand,

Nurse your playground scrapes,

Make sure you’ve had a snack, 

nap, and time to play,

I’ll remind you to take 

Turns, share, and clean up.

Sometimes I’ll model what to do,

Or set you up to figure it out

For yourself

Motivate you to, “Keep trying”

Be there to clap when you shout,


Ask questions, 

And guide you towards your own solutions

Read more (prose version)

Valerie is the first person in her family to finish high school and attend university, where she studies Elementary Education and English for Students of Other Languages on a full scholarship she earns through her studies and volunteering in the International Baccalaureate Program. As a classroom teacher, Valerie is responsible for differentiating the needs of diverse learners (English Language Learners, gifted, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism, etc) all mixed together. She gains a reputation for her progress with “tough” kids and is nominated as the go-to person for the whole school to consult with other teachers about behavior modification. Her key to success is finding the redeeming qualities in the most challenging students: the parts worth fighting for. Not surprisingly, her favorite subject to teach is writing because of how well she gets to know her students, and it sparks a personal writing practice. Valerie works in high poverty schools, with the students she thinks she could relate to because many also have high ACE scores. Teaching these students is where she feels most useful. After 8 years of teaching in the US, Valerie makes the challenging choice to leave the public education system that feels like it is slowly stifling her empathy and ability to create change. It hurts to care so much within the limitations of her role. 

Despite winning merit pay and awards, the highlight of her teaching career is meeting Dr. Jane Goodall through the Roots and Shoots Program to foster activism in young people, an idea which takes root in her as well. 

Introducing Valerie, seeker:

I’m Valerie, spiritual seeker

Fascinated by religions, cultures, and experiences beyond the known

Converted to Catholicism as a teen,

Studied world religions and became an intuitive Tarot card reader,

Living in a Buddhist country and attending vipassana meditation retreats,

Yoga teacher, psychonaut, and world traveler.  

Read more (prose version)

Unfortunately, Valerie is a novice at finding a healthy work-life balance as a teacher and carries the emotional burdens of her “babies” home with her. She takes a leave of absence after completing 5 years and attends Yoga Teacher Training to learn how to better handle stress before returning to teaching a different grade level at a new school. The study of yoga and witnessing death rekindle an interest in different spiritual traditions: Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism. She moves to Thailand, attends yoga and vipassana meditation retreats, and becomes an intuitive Tarot card reader. She seeks healing for herself as she journeys the world. 

Introducing Sprinkles

Aro, I’m Sprinkles, a baby clown

Clowns are low-risk trial by fire

I WANT people to laugh at me

So it feels safer

As I correct mistakes

And learn to be less hard on myself

In the Medicine Circus

School teaches me how to play with fire

Safely on this playground of life

Read more (prose version)

After leaving the US, Valerie discovers flow arts and performing. Starting with familiar media through storytelling and poetry first, Valerie takes as many opportunities to learn as possible: theater, improv, pole dancing, fire spinning, and juggling. When her inner child clowns around, she goes by the stage name Sprinkles. She’s learning to feel sexy, safe, and empowered through training to reduce her body’s trauma responses, especially through pole dance. She wears a frile (half frown, half smile) to represent the duality of how she feels vulnerable and then empowered at various times.

Currently in her 13th year of teaching professionally, Valerie continues to work as a digital nomad teaching English online and volunteer-teaching circus skills to local children to help them learn English vocabulary through fun and play. 

Introducing Valerie Park-love-er

I am Valerie Park-love-er,

Naturalist often found playing outside, 

I was born with a scarcity mindset and a love for the environment 

I’m a rubbish collector, hoarder of craft materials, and DIY extraordinaire 

I make jewelry, toys, and costumes

I work in creative rediscovery,

Upcycling art.

Introducing Miss Valerie Parker, Eduformer*:

I am Miss Valerie Parker, Eduformer,

activist who hopes to inspire through performance, arts, and writing.

Read More (prose version)

As a survivor herself, Valerie struggles with hearing news reports about a student who is sexually abused by a fellow teacher. She tells her family about her rape, asks questions, and listens to their stories. She discovers a larger history of sexual abuse, and she feels complicit for not knowing, for not comparing stories sooner. She turns to writing to cope and discovers a desire to DO SOMETHING about the problem of rape culture, which is taboo to talk about with anyone, especially children. To address that problem creatively, she is currently writing a children’s book about consent, sexuality, and rape. And she doesn’t plan to stop there. Her childhood dreams of being an author evolve into adult dreams of creating the change wished to see in the world. She writes and tells her stories and lessons she’s learned to help others by addressing topics that many avoid–stories she knows well. She wants to share her insights because learning and teaching are integrally linked. She knows that Silence is Violence. If she sees and hears evil, how can she NOT speak up and warn others?!

Using the silliness of circus, she balances the seriousness of her topic, lightening the mood as needed and experimenting with combining things for attention-getting and efficacy. Like she’s been saying for years: 

“You can’t teach anyone without getting and keeping their attention.”

*Eduformer: noun, an activist who teaches and inspires through performance. Eduformer is a portmanteau of educator and performer invented by Valerie.

2020 All Rights Reserved