Our Spotlight on Outstanding Teachers
What do teachers make? They make a difference! Teachers are the most important part of what we do at DBE. But let’s get real! Teachers are some of the most important people in our society…period!
Meet the Champions shines a spotlight on outstanding teachers, and how
they make a difference. Right here on the Quick Key Blog, we will be
interviewing real working teachers from around the globe, who make a
difference in their classrooms every day.
We first met Brian Kennedy on the Teacher’s Round Table, where he is an active member. Since then, Brian has proven to be one of those increasingly rare “real people” on the Internet. He has given us useful insights into our software during the beta development project, and he is among our group of 100 Quick Key beta testers. Thanks Brian!
Brian also happened to go to college about 30 minutes from Quick Key’s co-founders, Isaac and Walter. Oxford Ohio: home of steamed bagels and the craziest Halloween party this side of anywhere. R.I.P. Ozzie’s Balcony!!!
I asked Brian to allow us to spotlight him because over the past couple of months I have come to know him as a skilled teacher with an illuminating perspective on a range of issues. He is a natural at sharing his own tips and knowledge, and he does so freely, as you will discover in the Q&A below.
His colleagues in the Teachers Round Table already know Brian. But now it’s time for the rest of the world to know him, too.
So, without further ado…let’s meet a champion!
DBE: Why did you choose to become a teacher?
BK: Teaching brings a personal sense of satisfaction that I think I would have a hard time getting from other professions. I have always gotten a strong sense of accomplishment from service and stewardship, and I know that teaching is a perfect fit for my personality. I work best collaboratively, and I love the experience of facilitating positive change in students; whether it be in their academic knowledge and skills, or their character.
DBE: What is the biggest highlight from your classroom this year?
BK: I worked with a group of struggling eighth grade students that had all been recommended for my remedial writing instruction course by their language arts teachers. Many of these students live in poverty or otherwise chaotic situations, and many have been at risk since elementary school. We worked really hard toward acquiring skills or “tools” for our “writer’s tool belts” during the six-week course. I am proud to report that every student that attended the course, passed the eighth grade writing test and they all are looking forward to a successful freshman year!
DBE: Tell us about a teacher who inspired you. How did they do it? What made them great?
BK: My eighth grade language arts teacher, Lynn Angus, was among the most influential teachers that I had. She really made the students feel valued by sharing our writing in a safe and anonymous way. The sense of community in her classroom is something that I continue to strive for in my own classroom.
DBE: How can technology make you more efficient in the classsroom?
BK: Along with efficiently presenting aggregated data that informs instruction, technology provides the intangible ingredient that all teachers seek: engagement. When students’ excitement around using devices, music, or other media is present, the learning that takes place feels pleasurable as opposed to monotonous or forced. I also find that using technology with my students, be it a game, webquest, research, etc., allows the students the opportunity to take the lead, while I get to watch them explore learning. Technology effortlessly taps into their natural curiosity and allows them the opportunity to safely make impermanent mistakes.
DBE: What is really hard about teaching, and how do you deal with it?
BK: By far the most difficult part about my job is the fact that an increasing number of parents harbor underlying distrust for teachers and administrators. I try to remedy this by making myself available whenever possible to parents, and reaching out to build a trusting relationship with them. I also send regular feedback to parents, and make attempts to relay positive feedback to parents whenever possible. I find this especially helpful with students that have disciplinary issues, and it goes a long way with parents when I demonstrate that I want them to know that their child can be successful.
DBE: Thanks Brian!
for checking out Meet the Teacher Champions! Please let us know what
you think. To nominate a champion teacher, send an email to