On August 7th, Kate Baker will be presenting her talk with Shari Krapels “Authors’ Alley: Cultivating Collaborative Student Writing Communities with Technology” at EdmodoCon 2018! (Don’t forget to sign up!) We asked her a few questions about how she supports the success of her fellow teachers and advice for teachers around the world.
What’s your favorite way to support other teachers?
I love sharing resources and engaging in conversations at conferences and other educational events. I try to support other teachers through my involvement in various professional organizations and communities (CEL, NCTE, NJEA, FLN, NJCTE) so that we can maximize and leverage the power of our connections to create authentic learning experiences for our students and colleagues. So my favorite way to support other teachers is to share what I know and to learn alongside other teachers. Specific to Edmodo, I am very proud of being an Edmodo Certified Trainer and Instructional Designer for the Edmodo Certified Trainer Course. I am able to connect with educators from around the world and support them in learning how to teach other teachers how to use Edmodo.
What’s one thing you wish every teacher knew?
Find your tribe. Find the people who inspire you to do more, who add to your ideas, and who, over all, improve your professional practice.
Whether a first year or 20-something year teacher, collaboration and community are paramount to one’s success as an educator. I am so grateful for my educational community because we constantly learn from each other and devise ways to best reach our students. My colleagues in the Flipped Learning Network, the Conference on English Leadership, and, of course, the Edmodo Ambassador group have inspired me and our work together is synergistic magic.
What’s the greatest challenge you’ve overcome with the support of your school community?
Fourteen years ago one of my swimmers committed suicide. It was a very dark time in my life as I wrestled with how I could have prevented my swimmer’s death, but with the support of my school community, I have been able to heal. My swimmer’s death reminded me of the importance of relationships and making sure that every student is valued.
With the support of my school community, I started a therapy dog program to improve the school culture and for the past 13 years, we’ve had dogs visit classrooms and work with students in need. For 11 years, my chocolate lab, Brody, was a certified therapy dog who worked every day with my students. After Brody passed, I got my shihtzhu Charlie trained and certified, and he carries on Brody’s legacy now. Everything I do to create a learning culture in my class and school, whether it be with therapy dogs or through edtech, is so that I can strengthen the connections to my students to support them as life-long learners.
What’s your favorite resource on Edmodo?
I can’t pick one! Spotlight is a goldmine for teachers to find resources, but I also appreciate the Edmodo Training site, as I can point folks to specific videos for learning more about Edmodo. The Certified Learner Course is a great way for new users to learn how to use Edmodo, and the Certifed Trainer Course provides participants with a deep dive into Edmodo’s advanced features.
But the greatest resource on Edmodo is the PEOPLE. Edmodo isn’t about the “what” — Edmodo is about the “who”: Who in the world can I connect to and who in the world can I connect my students to? I am so grateful for the community of educators that I interact with on Edmodo. We are #bettertogether.