HSE 21 in Action at GES

Geist Gators

Feature Teacher - Debbie Kappus

This edition highlights veteran educator, Deb Kappus. Deb speaks to us about passion...

As we open the New Year, for me it becomes a time of reflection. Where have I been? Where am I going? In doing so this winter break I find myself asking the question….am I losing the passion? The passion for the job that I so dearly love. Drilling down to find that answer I look at what got me to where I am today. Teaching is a second career for me. I went back to school when I was 40 something. I was a single parent and was working full time making a fairly good salary. Why then would I want to disrupt my fairly “stable” life and take a $16,000 cut in pay? Because…..I had no passion. So I did it. With a lot of work, a lot money, and a very supportive daughter I did it. After my first year of teaching I was exhausted, broke, and stressed. But, I looked forward to the next year with great enthusiasm all because….I had the passion. And now the years have rolled on….and on….and on to the point where I am now facing the end of my career.

When I was very young I remember my mom asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. Without hesitation I said…”I want to be a mom”. I’m sure she would have rather heard something different, but she did understand. At that young age, I could not identify my passion….but, even then, I knew it was a driving force within me. And as I grew up that passion never wavered! So, what keeps me going? What keeps me putting my pants on (sometimes inside out) and come to work? As we all know things have changed in education. We find ourselves trying to keep up with the swinging pendulum of change that seems be moving at a frantic pace. We find ourselves with more work, less time, and a bank account which is NOT reflective of the amount of time we put in. The stresses and demands of our time sometimes seems to increase daily. But the question I continue to ask myself is…..do I still have the passion? And indeed I do.

What does my passion look like? Well, these days my passion comes in different sizes, shapes, colors that are all about 9 or 10 years old. My passion is loud, messy, and seldom listens. My passion wants to succeed, seldom lets me down, and is my window to our future. I love my passion and I believe my passion loves me. Children are my passion, and even as a child I recognized that that maternal drive in me. I knew I could not be happy or content if children were not a part of my life. So…as I open this new year my resolution is to keep my passion first and foremost in my mind when I take on each day. I believe that passions cannot be crushed! Circumstances can certainly make it unpleasant at times and make it feel like you are losing your passion!! But that core desire to hang out with kids has never left me. That desire to be an influence on those tiny creatures in some small way has never wavered. So, as we start this New Year I encourage you to take an inventory of your passions. I pray yours is alive and well!!

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Experimenting with Documentation - Spring Semester

Make it work for YOUR classroom!

There has been a great deal of talking, reflecting, thinking, looking, and experimenting going on in our hallways. (Did I mention that I've shared images of your work with other buildings in HSE? So MANY ways - not one "right" way!)


It's been so fun to see teachers and students get excited about showing off their hard work. That in and of itself is not a novel idea, of course; the experimenting revolves around HOW the student work is displayed - the photos, the student writing, the trial and error, the process, and the reflection. As you roll into January, keep your eye out for worthy work that might spill out into our hallways. What parts of documentation seem particularly powerful for your students at your grade? What might you experiment with this semester? What ideas can we bounce off one another and try together...?

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JUST for FUN!

One of the best parts of my role is sharing (bragging) about you all! Check out how HSE teacher, Jackie Ward, wove together inquiry, research, collaboration, architecture, and candy to make learning so SWEET! These were some serious bridge builders!


Below - Just for fun snap shots of our amazing students, teachers, and parents!