Hartland District Honorees Rev Up Staff
Teacher of the Year, Support Person of the Year deliver keynote speeches at annual breakfast.
Plenty of laughs, standing ovations and even a flash mob highlighted the recent Hartland School District's opening breakfast that's designed to movitvate employees for the upcoming year.
The planned group dance was performed to Katy Perry's Firework as a practical joke on Hartland Teacher of the Year Matt Conway, who was about to deliver a speech during the event.
"I didn't know if I was supposed to sing or dance through the aisles like Ellen," said Conway, the gym teacher at Round Elementary School. "It was hilarious. It broke all the tension. It was a great way to start to kick it off with a laugh."
Conway and Support Person of the Year Laura Cressey both offered keynote remarks Wednesday before hundreds of employees in the commons area of Hartland High School.
Conway's speech focused on the importance of teaching in which he said it's not about being liked, but about being respected. In addition, when problems arise, he recommended that they think back to teachers who inspired them and realize that their own legacy can be equally powerful for students.
"There are days, times when it's going to be trying — I always think how do I want to be remembered," he said. "For me, that's one of the driving forces."
He also said it's important to always smile.
"You guys were all made to do this," Conway said. "There's too many hoops you jumped through. There's too many different obstacles and things you have to do to stay a teacher.
"Try to remember to let your your heart show on your face. You're going to be frustrated, you're going to be irritated. When those kids come, smile. Be sure their eyes light up when they see you. That's the first part of making a connection."
Cressey, a paraeducator at Round, also generated laughter when she had Kristin Rapp — who nominated her for her award — stand up with her during her talk in which she focused on how support staff have to be adapt to every new situation like chameleons.
"We're always having to change colors to fit into our environment," Cressey said. "Every student has a unique personality and disabilities. As a paraeducator we're expected to meet the needs of all staff and students alike and just when you think you have something figured out, it changes.
"We change colors faster than chameleons. This may be one of the most toughest part of our job. Yet, I love it. It means there is a never a dull moment. With every color change, comes the possibility of success with yet another student."
Cressey also said success doesn't always come from tests — it can range from graduation to something as simple as having a student participate in an activity for 10 minutes.
"I want all of you to remember that whatever level of success you're trying to reach with your students, success is one goal we all share in Hartland," she said.
Editor's note: This story is latest a weeklong series focusing on the upcoming school year. Here are links to the others: