STEMulate the ENERGY of a Classroom!

Challenges, Successes, Products…OH MY!

I can honestly say that I still have a hard time putting my internship into words. I mean it was such an exhilarating experience that it’s so hard to describe to others. When I walked through the doors of Jones Onslow, I felt like I was one of them. To think that they treat an outsider like they treated me? Like family!

The first week I got there, I knew that I had to produce a product from this experience, an educational resource. Learning about JOEMC was the easy part. I had enough foundational knowledge that the industry was not overwhelming. The challenge was translating my learning into a viable product that not only myself but others could use to teach their students. After the first week my mind was full of all these ideas! I pondered teaching electricity, the seven cooperative principles, etc. But as the days went by, I began to feel a little overwhelmed and began thinking, how do I put this magnificent internship into just one lesson plan? My first idea of course was to impact all the students within Northside High School’s Stem Academy of which I am the director. However that impact was not large enough to me. I wanted the impact of the product I produced to correlate with the magnitude of the JOEMC Internship experience.

I continued searching my brain and my mentor’s to figure out how to take this experience and transform it into an educational resource in which I can impact the most students? And then, “STEMulating the ENERGY of the Classroom” came to light. JOEMC already had a menu of presentations for the classroom. However, the demand was low for these presentations. After learning more about these presentations, my product began to evolve into lessons aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a three-dimensional approach to K-12 science instruction.

My upcoming challenge is going to be having the my students facilitate STEM nights throughout this next school year so that they can test the prototype of JOEMC’s community lessons. I am excited and nervous about it, but I have faith in the skills I have learned, the help I can call upon at JOEMC and my fellow Kenan Fellows, and my students who will really embrace the process once they see what they need to do.

I am Where I Belong…FINALLY!

As numerous psychological studies have shown, it is not uncommon for educators to experience a sense of disillusionment at a point in their careers at which they reach a plateau. This feeling of disillusionment is a sign that something is missing, and that something is the drive towards constant progression – the very human impulse to be better, think better and live better. The key to overcoming this hurdle and becoming even better as a teacher, is lifelong learning. What is interesting is that the nature of that lifelong learning does not have to relate to one’s job in order to produce positive results. For some, it’s about learning a new language, for others it may be learning a new craft. Whatever the learning path may be, the end result is always the same – a renewed sense of purpose.

The axiom, “practice what you preach,” comes to mind when it comes to the need for educators to embark on lifelong learning. The job of any educator is to educate learners through presenting material in an appropriate way but an important part of that process includes teaching through ‘doing.’ When educators themselves, demonstrate a willingness to learn, they play an active role in creating a culture of curiosity and a desire to keep learning, within their respective environments. According to Dr. Art Costa, “Teachers who continue to learn throughout their professional careers display the humility of knowing that they don’t know, which is the highest form of thinking they will ever learn.”

Sometimes this humility is viewed as a weakness by colleagues, causing me to feel like a misfit in a career to which I was called to serve. I spent most of my life battling the idea that being different is not a curse. I know now that misfits, we are rare and are here for a purpose – to share what we know and what we feel to the rest of the world and help them understand what we see.

You see, we are misfits because we feel as if we are not understood. That the world doesn’t get why we are the way we are.

As misfits, we are on journey to find a home and feel acceptance. Since we don’t just fit in anywhere, it takes a special kind of place for us to feel at home. For some that place is a person. Home is a person where you can share every part of your soul, the deepest darkest parts of it; and still feel safe, accepted, and of course understood. But home can also be a hobby, a group or club, or even a place that defines who you are.

I needed my tribe – as they call it – my people.   And who would have thought I would find “my people” in Cullowhee, North Carolina.  They are Kenan Fellows like myself. They are lifelong learners, enthusiastic about learning, collaborative, innovative, facilitators of learning! I am so happy that I found them because with them, I am no longer a misfit!

Always remember, every misfit has a home they belong to.
And even in this big world, you are never alone.

Please meet this upcoming year’s Kenan Fellows…..below!

2018 – 2019 Kenan Fellows18-SummerPD-02


Why am I here?

When I initially received the email from my principal about this opportunity, I will admit, I simply skimmed it and went about my way. Then, one Sunday afternoon, I revisited the email and did a little bit of research on Kenan Fellows and realized what a great opportunity this could be for both me and my students!

That is when I started the application. Then, I brought it to my students and they convinced me to create the video below to submit as part of my application. Thanks to them, I was granted an interview….and the rest is HISTORY! I am SO happy to be part of this amazing opportunity as a Kenan Fellow. I can’t wait to see what all is to come and what I can bring to my students!