#ISTE17 – Tuesday Keynote Jennie Magiera

The keynote opened with things I didn’t see. There was a delicious breakfast involved and I regret nothing (Panchito’s for breakfast tacos…get the Lyft over, you won’t regret it). By the time I got in and seated, someone was talking about cilantro. Seems random, but it was about growing against all odds. The cilantro is a metaphor. It was probably better if I had seen the whole thing, but I would have probably still been snarky.

Anyways, on to the stuff that matters. After the cilantro talk, they brought out four students to have a student panel interview, hosted by the new ISTE CEO Richard Culatta. When asking each student what we need to stop doing in schools, their responses were “homework”, something I missed, “desks”, and “bullying.” Each of the students on the panel are pretty impressive. They range from middle school to freshman in college, and they have all done some really awesome things. Xavier was in the Ignite sessions on Sunday and talked about all the ways he learns in a non-traditional school.

When asked what advice would you give to all these teachers out there:

  • Please make education as fun as possible.
  • Know your students, know what they like, know what they don’t like.
  • Get to know your students more so that you can develop a career plan for them. – Hilda Mendoza
  • Hands on, it doesn’t just have to be for science.

Then it was time for Jennie Magiera to get on stage and do her keynote.

She opened her keynote with a story of a Korean girl coming to America. She is very excited to come to New York, and in the first few days, her mom takes her to city hall to get her American name. The mom asked her neighbor for the best girl’s name to have, and decides to rename her daughter Carol, but at city hall, the mom doesn’t know how to spell it. Korean doesn’t have an R in their language, so when she tries to sound it out for the clerk, the child becomes “Kello.” This leads to her being teased in school through the fourth grade, when her teacher asks her “What do you want to be called this year?” The girl thinks about it and decides that she is Katie. From then on, her story completely changes and she becomes smart, successful, and Jennie’s mom.

She also talked about her husband Jim, who when you meet him will tell you about how much he loves craft beer and bar-b-q, but you won’t find out that he’s a lawyer. But if you met her, you would very quickly find out that she is a teacher, because being an educator isn’t just her job, it’s who she is. I totally understand that, I live that.

She then talks about the recent NY Times article “Don’t Let Facebook Make You Miserable” in which Seth Stephens-Davidowitz talks about the disconnect between what people post about and what they actually do. If you haven’t read it, you should. What she takes from it is that we need to tell our own stories, tell who we really are to the people around you, don’t only tell your one story.

The majority of her keynote is focused on the idea of telling your students’ stories, and letting them tell their stories. She gives examples of her students releasing their stories on Youtube. She also asks us all to use the #ISTEStories to tell our own stories about being at ISTE.

She ends with the refrain “Teachers, find the stories that aren’t being told and set them free.”