Kappa Delta Pi initiation at Bellarmine University — November 17, 2019

Kappa Delta Pi initiation at Bellarmine University — November 17, 2019


[Dr. Wheeler]
You are joining a long history of students who are committed to excellence and have demonstrated excellence in the field of education and I wanted to share with you a quote from Parker Palmer. This is actually from this book, ‘The Courage to Teach,’ and if you haven’t had a chance to read that book I highly recommend it. This is what he says about the book: ‘This book is for teachers who have had good days and bad, whose bad days bring the suffering that comes only from something
one loves, when you love your work that much, and many teachers do, the only way to get out of trouble is to go deeper in.’ And I just want to share with you that you’re coming to education from all different places– some of you are getting ready to be teachers, some of are teachers already, some of you aspire to be instructional leaders, to be principals, to be coaches. And then there’s also a group of you that is aspiring to teach in different ways– either in higher education where you’re wanting to cultivate minds and colleges or that you’re seeking to educate the world by bringing about change and effecting positive difference in the world. And so we are glad and thankful for all of these diverse individuals to be part of our chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. These are all programs
that are housed within the School of Education, and so with no further ado I’m
going to ask Dr. Kristin Cook to come bring welcome. Thank you! [Applause] [Dr. Cook]
Welcome, everyone! It’s so nice to see everybody out here on this Sunday and so nice to see this be a packed house with just support, support, support coming from all angles. My name is Kristin Cook. I serve as the associate dean here in the School of Education and I welcome you to this event, and I certainly welcome the entities tonight certainly welcome the inductees tonight and commend them for thinking beyond what they’re going to get in a traditional teacher prep program or master’s program or doctoral-level program but thinking about joining a network that definitely extends beyond these walls, definitely extends beyond our state and is even international. So if you’ve seen people in the room that you don’t recognize from your program, please introduce yourselves to them–they are part of your new network. I also wanted to introduce other people in the room and who’s all here today, so I’m going to ask some people to stand first starting with the faculty and staff who are here to support students today. If you could please stand
so everybody can see who you are. All faculty and staff. Our dean is also here, Elizabeth Dinkins, who just rolled in at 2 o’clock this morning so she really wanted to be here to support you guys tonight. We love this event, and all these people who are standing are here with you along for your journey– but not when you’ve finished Bellarmine. We want to be always part of your journey and checking in with you and seeing how things are going. That’s really an excitement for us to see where students end up and where the road takes them. So welcome to all of the faculty and staff. The officers–would you please stand? You met them on your way in, but if you don’t know them please do introduce yourself. They’re here to be your guides, your mentors, people who have been-there-done-that, and have been into places that you’ve been and if you don’t know them, please introduce yourself. They’re part of your new network as well. I also want to ask the family and friends who are here tonight to stand and be recognized. That’s a lot of you. [Applause] If you haven’t said thank you yet to the people who are here with you, take the time to thank them. Their job along your journey is to be there for you every day. These are the people you’re going to contact, and you’ve had a hard day being out in the field, and they’re going to be the ones that are going to cheer you on and keep you going and help you persevere in this chosen career. So thank you so much for your support and for being here tonight. We have a special guest who’s going to speak to you tonight about being in your shoes, and the lessons she’s learned and in her life as a long-term educator. So I’m going to read you a little bit about Mrs. Beth Reiss, who comes to here to us today from St. Matthews Elementary. Mrs. Reiss–you can hear in this in this introduction to Mrs. Reiss how many commonalities you have with Mrs. Reiss; there’s a lot that I can see as common threads here. Mrs. Reiss graduated from Bellarmine with a bachelor’s in elementary education and learning behavior disorders in 1995. She also received her master’s degree in elementary education in 2004 from Bellarmine University as well. She began teaching at Price Elementary in 1995 in an EBD self-contained classroom and moved to fifth grade at Price in 1999. In 2004 she moved to Klondike Lane Elementary, where she also taught fifth grade. Her experience includes working with ECE, ESL, AP– parents are probably wondering what all these acronyms mean, so please describe what they mean to them later– so students all across the board. In 2013 she completed her National Board Certification and middle-grade literacy. In 2014 she moved to St. Matthews Elementary. While teaching fifth grade she received her gifted education endorsement from the University of Louisville and is currently the GTAP and all the good acronyms teacher for third through fifth grade students at St. Matthews. And, of course, another pursuit that she’s going onto is she just recently completed her principal certification from Spalding University. So we are so delighted to have her here and hear what she has to say about the life as an educator. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Beth Reiss. [Applause] [Mrs. Reiss]
I’m used to speaking to kids all day, so bear with me for just a few minutes. So. Twenty-four years of teaching, three schools, six principals, more than 800 students, 600 hours of professional development, a master’s degree, multiple student teachers, about 500 faculty meetings, multiple parent conferences, and it seems like a million graded papers. It seems like yesterday I was student teaching and preparing to interview and apply for my first job. I felt I was prepared and I felt like I was ready to conquer the world of teaching. Don’t get me wrong–Bellarmine did prepare me. However, you can’t be fully prepared for everything that you will experience as a teacher So I’m just going to talk to you about some things I wish I would have known as I started my teaching career. So those of you that are already teachers, I apologize because you already probably know these things, but those of you getting ready to take the leap: All those hours I spent decorating bulletin boards in my classroom and making sure everything was very cute and organized–that really doesn’t make a difference in your effectiveness as a teacher. Yes, an inviting classroom is important; however, your time is best spent developing procedures, routines, and planning for student learning not putting up elaborate bulletin boards. You cannot do everything. Prioritize what has to be done and let the rest go. Lesson plans, grading papers, paperwork–they’re all required and must be done. However, volunteering for every extra job or for every committee will wear you out. Yes, you need to be an active participant in your school community, but you can’t do everything. Make friends with the custodian, the secretary, the bookkeeper, and the cafeteria staff. You might not think that they have an impact. They do. You will need them. It might be water falling from the ceiling one day, water won’t come out of the sink. You have no idea how a student is going to get a meal. There’s all kinds of things that will come up— make them your friends. Plan, plan, and plan. That’s really all I can say about that one. But some of the best plans are not in the plans. There are times when a book, a conversation, or something a student shares turns into a lesson of its own. I used to feel so much pressure to get everything that I wrote into my lesson plan done. Then I would rush from one lesson to the next, just to make sure I got everything every day. There are days when I would get through everything in that plans and look back and wonder how much my students actually learned. I finally had to give myself permission to throw out the lessons so that students could enjoy more authentic learning experiences. And that’s hard for me–I’m a Type A, it was in the plan book! Got to let it go, got to let it go. Classroom management is more than– it’s more about the design of learning experiences than it is about behavior. There will be some that it is about behavior, but classroom management is about clear expectations, dependable routines, and consistent consequences. It is about engaging students in learning that is meaningful and relevant. I’ve also learned that each year is a new beginning–thank God. There are years I look back and I feel like I need to apologize to my students. Probably the first three. You’re just trying to get through, but that’s the best thing about teaching– is that each day, each year, is a new beginning. While you want to give everyone your absolute best, you have to be willing to learn and grow. Some years are harder than others. Use each year as a learning experience to develop as a teacher and start over better and stronger each year– and do not use the same lesson plan book you used the year before. Start fresh every year because your students are new every year. And this was the one that– this is probably the one that is the most important, is that relationships matter. It doesn’t matter how well you deliver your instruction, how cute your classroom is, or how many hours you spend grading papers. If you do not have genuine relationships with your students, none of that will matter. Eat lunch with your students occasionally. Talk to them on the playground. Attend their sporting events after school. Find ways to connect with the students in non-academic ways. And your students will remember you for that–they’ll remember how you made them feel. I know this because I’m in touch with students that I’ve had for years and years ago. They remember the love that I had for them in various ways. They do not remember the lessons on time, they do not remember the multiple days we spent on long division. They do not remember that I forgot to grade their homework last night and I didn’t turn it in to them. When I listen to what they remember, it’s the love and the care that I had for them. Never be afraid to ask for help. Find people that you can support and that support you. Collaborate with your team of teachers but also find someone in your building that’s not on your team. It is important to have people that you can plan with, collaborate with, and vent to. You cannot do this job alone. Develop a self-care routine. I did this way too late in my career. Teaching is not easy. It can be both physically and emotionally draining. When you’re in the classroom, you’re expected to be on all day. Students come to school with baggage that can be tough to deal with. Find a way to take care of yourself– reading, yoga, exercise, going out with friends–whatever it is– spend some time every day taking care of yourself. And I think we would know from the
biography that they read: Never stop learning. In many ways I still consider myself a new teacher…I’m not. I’m very old compared to many of you in the room. I learn and grow every year. I remember when I first graduated and started my first teaching job. I thought I knew it all. However, with each new experience–whether it be a new grade, a new colleague, or a challenging student– I’m constantly learning. I’ve learned a lot in my 24 years, my three schools, my six principals, 800 students, 600 hours of professional development, 500 faculty meetings, and those millions of graded papers. The thing that I never expected to learn and I never expected was the pride and the love that I have for the teaching profession. I might not have a six-figure salary, I don’t have a fancy car, I don’t go on lavish vacations, and I don’t live in a huge house. However, I know that I make a difference and that is really good enough for me. Congratulations, good luck on your endeavors, and I hope for the best. [Applause] [Dr. Wheeler]
Thank you so much for sharing with us today, and we have just a little token of our thanks. And we’re also about to induct all of our new members and we’re also offering you a gift membership. [Mrs. Reiss]
Fabulous! Thank you so much. [Ms. Skonieczny]
Members of the Alpha Gamma Epsilon chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education are now assembled to reaffirm faith in the ideals of our society and to initiate into membership candidates who seek the bond of our common purpose. To promote excellence in and recognizing outstanding contributions in education. [Dr. McGee]
Hi, I’m Dr. McGee, one of the cosponsors of this chapter Jennifer Skonieczny and Whitney Liefer are the presidents of our organization, and members of Kappa Delta Pi that are here with us today, I present these candidates– and could you please rise. I present these candidates who wish to make the ideals of our society their own. So we now begin. You may be seated. [Ms. Liefer]
Our historian, Daria Ochenkowski, will now relate the society’s and our chapter’s origins. [Ms. Ochenkowski]
Kappa Delta Pi was founded March 8, 1911, at the University of Illinois. The society was incorporated on June 8, 1911. The Alpha Gamma Epsilon chapter was installed September 5, 2005. [Ms. Skonieczny]
What does membership in Kappa Delta Pi imply? [Ms. Liefer]
It implies fostering the high ideals of the education profession by assuming trusteeship of a rich professional legacy. It is our privilege and duty as educators to transmit this legacy. Candidates, do you accept the responsibility of transmitting this legacy? If so, you will answer ‘I do.’ [Audience]
I do. [Ms. Skonieczny]
What are the principles upon which the society is founded? [Ms. Liefer]
Education is a vital societal force that encourages universal welfare and individual progress. Education is the cornerstone of democracy and the foundation for personal fulfillment. Honor societies conduct rituals and ceremonies to impress upon their members the ideals and duties to which they adhere. Members of Kappa Delta Pi have cherished the society’s ideals and accepted the concepts of duty established when the organization was founded. New members of Kappa Delta Pi should be aware of the duties which education imposes and uphold the ideals of the society. We present, for your acceptance, the ideals which guide members of the society. [Ms. Ochenkowski]
The first ideal is that of fidelity to community. This ideal implies that faith in the potential of human beings and in the improvement of the human condition through education, compassion in the contacts one has, as an educator, with humanity, and dedication to the concept that through continuous education based upon equal opportunity, persons of all races, ages, and creeds will find increased opportunity for experiencing more meaningful lives. All of this is implied in the Ideal of Fidelity to Humanity. [Ms. Skonieczny]
Do you accept this Ideal of Fidelity to Humanity? If so, you’ll answer ‘I do.’ [Audience]
I do. [Ms. Johnson]
The second is the Ideal of Science. This ideal implies that, as an educator, one will be faithful to the cause of free inquiry and strive to eliminate prejudice and superstition by withholding judgment until accurate and adequate evidence is obtained. One will not distort evidence to support a favorite theory, not be blinded by the new or spectacular, nor condemn the old simply because it is old. All of this is implied in the Ideal of Science. [Ms. Liefer]
Do you accept this Ideal of Science? If so, you will answer ‘I do.’ [Audience]
I do. [Ms. Johnson]
The third ideal is that of service. This ideal is the very essence of education which seeks advancement, not merely for self, but for society as well. The incentive of the great educators of the world has been their desire to serve humanity. Service in education implies living so that others are strengthened and inspired, and striving for the achievement of justice, peace, and a better way of life for all. All of this is implied in the Ideal of Service. [Ms. Skonieczny]
Do you accept this Ideal of Service? If so, you will answer ‘I do.’ [Audience]
I do. [Dr. Wheeler]
The final ideal is that of toil–the will
to do the task that must be done whether the task pleases one or not, and faith in the social necessity and intrinsic reward of the education profession. It implies working with such faith and zeal that others are won to the cause of education. If one life has been given greater freedom and nobler vision, toil has not been in vain. All of this is implied in the Ideal of Toil. [Ms. Liefer]
Do you accept this Ideal of Toil? If so, you will answer ‘I do.’ [Audience]
I do. [Ms. Skonieczny]
Our society’s emblem incorporates the scroll, the stylus, the beehive, and the characters K kappa, triangle delta, pi. Many of the treasures of antiquity which formed the foundation of modern education rests upon scrolls of papyrus. The golden scroll, therefore, is the foundation of our emblem. The shaft running through the scroll is the stylus–the first instrument known to be used in making letters and figures. The beehive symbolizes toil. The characters K kappa, triangle delta, and pi represent our motto: Knowledge, Duty, and Power–words of expressing the entire meaning of our educational ideals. [Ms. Liefer]
The purpose and ideals of Kappa Delta Pi are now known to you. Are you ready to assume the obligations of membership in Kappa Delta Pi? If so, you will answer ‘I am.’ [Audience]
I am. [Ms. Skonieczny]
Please repeat after me the obligation of
the society: I promise to abide by the constitution [Audience]
I promise to abide by the constitution [Ms. Skonieczny]
and bylaws of Kappa Delta Pi [Audience]
and bylaws of Kappa Delta Pi [Ms. Skonieczny]
and to cooperate, to expand the influence [Audience]
and to cooperate, to expand the influence [Ms. Skonieczny]
of its purpose and ideals. [Audience]
of its purpose and ideals. [Ms. Skonieczny]
I now declare you members of Kappa Delta Pi, international honor society in education. Pledge to be faithful to its ideals and worthy to enter into the bonds of fellowship with its members. [Dr. Wheeler]
Initiates: We will now be recognizing you individually so what we’re going to ask you to do is come forward come up on the stage and you will be greeted by Dr. McGee, and then we also have a book for you to sign as part of membership in our chapter. I’m going to call out everyone’s name. We have some individuals that were not able to be with us today but we will still recognize them. Anna Star Adams. [Applause] Chantelle Barbour. [Applause] Mollie Barger. [Applause] Madison Brady. [Applause] Tabette Cecil. [Applause] Phyllis Clark. [Applause] Priscilla Cook. [Applause] Diane Courington. [Applause] Caroline Cross. [Applause] Cassidy Daugherty. [Applause] Stephannie Early. [Applause] Sierra Fields. [Applause] Taylor Glover. [Applause] Iris Jasmin. [Applause] Jerron Jones. [Applause] Cassandra Kemper. [Applause] Karen Loper. [Applause] Breya Matty. [Applause] Kathryne McGuire. [Applause] Marc Monroe. [Applause] George Munjanattu. [Applause] Maura Murphy. [Applause] Grace Perkins. [Applause] Gabrielle Phillips. [Applause] Alexandra Rogers. [Applause] Therron Rogers. [Applause] Shelby Rush. [Applause] Sydney Skanes. [Applause] Benton Stone. [Applause] Victoria Trice. [Applause] Lily Tway. [Applause] Carol Vetter. [Applause] And Ashley White. [Applause] Initiates who’ve just taken upon yourself the obligation of the society has given to you by our chapter president, to assist you in knowing and honoring this commitment, you are receiving a copy of the Kappa Delta Pi creed, which will be yours to keep. Please sign and date the creed you receive as you leave today. And we would ask once more for the initiates to please stand. [Applause] We are united in a profession whose purpose and challenge is to inspire young and old to grow by using their heritage to develop a new concern for the needs of others and to strengthen moral character and personality so that collectively as members of Kappa Delta Pi we may be worthy examples of a rich, wholesome life. To these purposes and challenges and firm faith, we devote our lives– so to teach that our words inspire a will to learn, so to serve that each day may enhance the growth of exploring minds, so to live that we may guide young and old, to know the truth and love the right. To the fulfillment of these objectives we pledge our efforts and our faith, As a member of Kappa Delta Pi you will be expected to exemplify a commitment to equity by preparing yourself for the diversity–ethnic, social, language, ability and otherwise– you will face every day as an educator. It is my privilege and honor to congratulate you and to welcome you to Kappa Delta Pi. [Applause] I just want to point out once more that this is an organization in the School of Education that overlaps all of our programs, and so there are so many opportunities for all of you– whether you’re a young teacher or pre-service teacher and you’re preparing to go into your first classroom, or whether you are in one of the Ph.D. programs and you are working on scholarship and you are looking for a place to sponsor or share some of that scholarship–Kappa Delta Pi is a place for that to happen. It’s also an opportunity for there to be networking within our school and to offer mentoring and support. And so as you have ideas about how we can strengthen our connection beyond just this celebration and this gathering, please reach out to Dr. McGee or I. Because we are open to your ideas and we want this to be your organization and not our organization. Before we conclude and I call up Dr. McGee for that I do want to recognize formally our officers from the past year. [Applause] Jennifer Skonieczny and Whitney Liefer have served as co-presidents. Daria Ochenkowski as our membership chair and also historian. And Emily Johnson is serving as our treasurer and secretary. So thank you. And the other thing I want to point out is we had our first initiation in several years last year. Our chapter had become inactive and so these young women were crucial at us being able to get our chapter started again. They’ve spent a lot of time in meetings and looking at bylaws , making plans, and really just trying to set up the tent, if you will, so that other people could come and be a part of this organization. [Applause] [Dr. McGee]
Thank you. Thank you for being educators, thank you about caring about for our future generation, who make such a difference when you work in the classrooms with your students, with the parents, with your colleagues. It’s so important for us to realize that we are the most important jobs– there aren’t any that are more important than ours. You can’t be an accountant or a judge or anything else unless you’ve been through an educational system. So you do matter. Teachers matter. And thank you so much for joining us in this profession. [Applause] [Dr. Wheeler]
So, if you would, please stay and enjoy some tea and refreshments. There are refreshments set up just outside Hilary’s. Take a chance to meet new people and greet some of these new faces that are around you. Thank you so much for coming. [Applause]

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