Speaker encourages local educators during conference

Photo by Tevin Stinson

Speaker encourages local educators during conference
August 17
03:00 2017

With only a few weeks left in their summer vacation, more than 500 local educators came together last week to help each other prepare for the 2017-2018 school year. The event that brought teachers, counselors, administrators, and even some school board members together was the 2017 Collaborative Learning Conference. 

The two-day conference held at Walkertown High School featured dozens of seminars lead by educators on a variety of topics. The conference was designed to give educators an opportunity to build relationships and learn from each other. To kick off the event and build excitement for the upcoming school year, Winston-Salem State University alum Michael Bonner, an elementary school teacher in Pitt County, encouraged local educators to go the extra mile to ensure all students succeed. Bonner gained national attention after a video he made with his second-graders at Granville Elementary School to inspire reading landed him on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and earned the school a $25,000 check for school supplies.

Although he has been receiving national praise for his creativity in the classroom, Bonner said just a year earlier, he thought about giving teaching up all together. 

He said, “In January of 2017, Ellen tweeted out to her millions of followers that she wished she could go back to second grade so Mr. Bonner could be her teacher. What she didn’t know was in May of 2016, I wanted to quit being a teacher, my third year of teaching.” 

After a rough day, Bonner said he came to a dichotomous road that every teacher will come to at some point during the school year. He said, “Either I was going to give up on the population that needs me or I was going to get up and make something else happen.

“And August of 2016 until now, that’s exactly what I did. I shifted my stance to educational equity.” 

As he continued to tell his story, Bonner said now more than ever teachers need to maximize their efforts by working smarter, not harder. He also encouraged teachers and educators to continue to learn from each other throughout the school year and to be open to criticism. 

“Everybody wants to be an outstanding educator until it’s time to do what an outstanding educator does,” continued Bonner. “I’m here to tell you growth is necessary and the crazy thing about it is, it hurts. To build muscle your muscles have to tear and if you want to grow you need to go to someone who is qualified to help you grow as an educator.

“Often times we go to people who don’t have any idea what they’re talking about or the mindset to help all students grow. To create effective change in our classrooms we have to figure out what we need to change.” 

As evident by the standing ovation, Bonner reached several teachers with his presentation last week. Dozens even waited in line to take a photo with Bonner before heading off to their seminars.

Leah Settle, a second-grade teacher at Easton Elementary School, said after listening to Bonner talk about his teaching journey, she felt confident about heading into her second year in the classroom.

“We have to make sure our students know we care about them. I don’t hold anything back with my students. I let them know I am learning with them that was a big thing for me my first year of teaching and it worked out great,” she said. “I’m excited to for the upcoming school year and this event today shows other teachers in the district are excited too.”

About Author

Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors