Dallas Stars January Teacher of the Month!
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I have always enjoyed helping young people find out about themselves. I had teachers who encouraged me to figure out problems, enjoy math and computers, navigate the ‘rough times’ of middle school and high school. I thought that if I became a teacher, perhaps I could help some students figure out they are more than just a good grade.
What has been your most memorable moment as a teacher?
While teaching a unit on personal finance, I was explaining how mortgages work. A student raised his hand and said, “Wow! That’s what my dad does for a living. I’ve never understood it when he tried to tell me what he does. But the way you said it makes perfect sense. I can’t wait to tell him that I know now!” I know this isn’t a big heart-touching moment, but it encapsulates everything I love about teaching – helping kids make a connection to the real world around them, giving them confidence, and seeing them eager to share what they’ve learned with their parents.
What is your favorite part of Future Goals and how are you using it in your classroom?
My favorite part of Future Goals is that it links math/science with sports. The kids who only see themselves in terms of being good athletes but not good students can re-frame how they see themselves. And the students who are book-smart but not very athletic begin to see that there is a place for them in the world of sports. Last year I used Future Goals as a reward and a supplement to my lessons. Additionally this year, I am using it as the actual lesson for asynchronous learning days. Students liked the visual presentation; the combination of computer graphics and live action made them feel more mature than other, more cartoonish programs we have used. The scaffolded explanation of the content was understandable and memorable.
What was your student’s reaction to the program?
Their were enthusiastic immediately. The beginning of our units on area/perimeter and angles coincided with the delayed start of the NHL season, so it dovetailed perfectly when I introduced Future Goals. Because the Stanley Cup final was played during this school year, the kids had a direct connection to the Stars and what I was asking them to do online. Everyday they are eager to get started and disappointed on days when I haven’t built time into our schedule to logon.
Who is your favorite hockey player?
Though Khudobin and Heiskanen are tied for 2nd on my list of my favorite Stars, Benn takes the top spot. With his quiet, intense determination, it is easy to see why he is captain. I like his straight forward, no nonsense demeanor. It’s the type of approach to learning I want my students to have – be 100% committed to the job you are doing at that moment. Benn doesn’t over re-act to trash talk but will stand up for his teammates when necessary. Again, traits I want my students to have.