Friday, March 20, 2015

Nicole Andresen, Guest Columnist

Inspired by Kevin Honeycutt

Our district was visited last week by Kevin Honeycutt, last year's International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) keynote speaker, and if you haven't heard of him, I encourage you to check out him out.

I have been to my share of keynote speakers and district lectures.  There have been some that have left things resonating and others that I was bored to tears (I'll be honest).  This time, I couldn't help but be engaged and listen to every word.  The way Kevin gets right to your emotions was.... well I can't even describe it other than it reminded me why I chose to be a teacher again.  I was laughing and I had tears in my eyes all at the same time.

His talk made me actually Google search during our break to find the high school teacher that had the most profound impact on my life.  I remember Mrs. Buchheit as a woman who was a great listener, had the patience of a saint, promoted her lessons with energy and enthusiasm, and was there for you regardless of whether it was school related or not.  She is really the teacher that I can look back on and remember her face, her lessons, and her voice.  Mrs. Buchheit helped mold me into the teacher I am today!

His talk made me email that student that I know I reached, but has fallen by the wayside again, and tell him I'm still here and I still believe in him.  Over the course of this child's grade 3 year in my room, we moved from a setting where you didn't know what would set him off, to a child who worked for me and listened with great interest.  While in 4th grade he knew he could always come to me for help and guidance.  He often showed up before school to work on homework because he didn't have a home setting that made it possible.  I gave him a snack for the morning and mid-day because sometimes mom was too tired to make or send anything.  In fifth grade, I moved to a new district.  Not by choice but rather by circumstances.  I received this letter from him the day he found out I was leaving the school:

I still kept tabs on him, checking in every so often.  He would stop in to my friend's classroom in the building to call me or write me.  When he was having a particularly hard time, his teacher would call me and I would speak to him from my new classroom.  Eventually I found myself back in the same district.  We would send emails back and forth, but he was always vague about what was going on in his life.  The next thing I knew he was no longer communicating and through investigation I found that his mom had moved him south to be closer to his dad.  Not quite a year later they did return but this child has been on downward slope.  It breaks my heart to know he is on the wrong path and that circumstances outside of school have lead to poor choices.  If anything that Kevin Honeycutt said really resonated with me, it would be that I can't give up on him, especially if everyone else close to him has.

Some of the best quotes and takeaways from Kevin Honeycutt were:

    If you don't care who gets the credit, you can make anything happen.
    Kids are learning on a digital playground and nobody's on recess duty.
    Write on your students' mind with permanent ink!
    Record your lessons and team teach with yourself.
    Don't let politicians sum us up. Tell the stories about your students, it's not bragging....It needs to be heard. Take charge! Get the word out!
    First generation to have global competition. How are you getting your students ready?
    Learn to Love to Learn
    It's okay to model that humans need to keep learning.... So if you're unsure of using tech in the class it's okay, let the kids help.
    Re-believe in your students! Make them feel valued!
    Kids come to us the best they can & sometimes it's not good. It's not our job to judge...
    They are all our kids.... Not just the easy ones!
    The most dangerous place to be in a school is alone.
    The world is changing, why aren't we?
    Worksheets on an iPad is moving sideways.... Move forward!
    Is your school global or snow global?

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