1. What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?
Seeing the "light in the eyes" when a student "gets it" knowing they will never be the same learner again.
2. You’ve said that a teacher’s job is never done. What advice would you give a teacher who maybe is stuck in a bit of a rut or is looking for ways to shake things up in his or her classroom?
Try to find ways that make lessons have meaning for their students. I always explain why this learning is important because "kids don't know what they don't know". Show them the awe in something as simple as an insect under a microscope or as profound as a piece of poetry or a piece of history that changed millions of lives.
Read books! One of the first I would recommend is "The Butterfly Effect" by Andy Andrews.
3. How does technology play a role in your classroom?
Ouch! Until recently not much. I always believed I was vaccinated against technology while still a kid! But, in the last six months, I've gotten a smart phone, have an account on Facebook and am a regular contributor, had a SMARTboard installed in my room with all the bells and whistles so I better get to learning! I've used digital photography since the cameras first came out with 3.5 inch floppy disks and we have a set of 19 Garmin GPS receivers I've used every year for the last 7 to do geocaching and other activities with my classes outdoors. I love the creative part of building PowerPoints and they are a regular part of my teaching in all my classes as well. I'm going to try to integrate podcasting into at least one of my classes if I can figure it out without having to buy a lot of new equipment.
4. What are some of your favorite tips for keeping science class fun and interesting?
Show them the awe in the little things. Give them the opportunities to teach themselves and one another. And, maintain high expectations for all learners. Share your passion for the subject and for learning in general. I have a former student, now a presidential award winner, who once told me he didn't remember any of the biology I taught him. (Thanks a lot!) But, he said he remembered my passion for the subject, he liked that and so took more science as a result and eventually became an amazing classroom teacher himself.
5. Why do you love Nebraska's public schools?
Though we are not perfect we strive to serve each learner equally. We have to take all kids just as they walk in the door with all their flaws and personality and try to move them to a place they didn't think they could get to.