History and online teacher in Australia develops honest relationship with students
This story is part of a series that celebrates Teacher Appreciation Month. Each day in May, we will introduce to you an outstanding educator within the Flipgrid community. Stories by Angela Tewalt.
Last year, Kylie Kingdon’s deputy principal came into her classroom to observe.
Her school in Perth, Australia, was going through a yearlong professional development project in which every single teacher had to welcome the boss into the classroom. With ease, Kylie was the first to volunteer.
When he arrived, Kylie’s Year 7 students were reading out of a textbook. She was mindful not to include any savvy tech during their time with him or to engage the students in a bustling project. Instead, the room was calm, collected and peaceful.
Yet, when the principal debriefed with Kylie, he asked plainly, “Is that your level of energy all the time?” He continued, “I asked your students that same question, to which they replied, ‘Yes, she’s always like that. Very high energy. If anything, she was a bit down today because you were in the room.’ ”
Kylie sparkles. Every single day, she is upbeat and motivated, very hands-on, connected and engaged with her students. And, much to the principal’s surprise, her spirit has yet to abate. She gives her all to her students, and, with joy, that’s what they give her in return.
“I like my kids to know who I am,” says Kylie, who teaches history. “I think it’s important they know that the person in front of them is a human and makes mistakes and learns from them. So I tell stories, I talk too much, I don’t sit still very often, and I’m very honest. I just love my kids so much. They bring me so much joy.”
Making Heartfelt Connections in Online Learning
Kylie is the head of humanities and social sciences at Emmanuel Catholic College, where she’s been teaching for 15 years.
A couple years ago, she also began working with ViSN, a virtual network of Catholic schools that works with Microsoft to offer online learning. With them, she teaches modern history to students who reside in rural communities and don’t have as many subjects to choose from while preparing for university.
“It has opened up such a big world for me,” says Kylie, who became an MIE Expert last year. “And my students love it because of the freedom. We have a call once a week, but otherwise they work at their own pace. We connect every day on Teams, they ask questions. I just try to connect with them in exactly the same way I do with the ones sitting in front of me.”
Because of the distance, it’s important to Kylie more than ever that her students feel her love from afar. One of her students has a photo of her framed on his desk with a note she put on there that says, “Do Your Work,” as a reminder to stay on task.
She welcomes her ViSN students to call her on Teams anytime, and both her ViSN and Perth students text via Snapchat together.
“I don’t even know anything about Snapchat, but my students from all over the state connect with one another on there! I just love that so much.”