SRL Connected Educator of the Month: November 2015

Congratulations to Mary Dunn from Pleasure Ridge Park High School in Louisville, Kentucky. Mary’s positivity, eagerness to teach and be taught, makes her this month’s Student Reporting Labs Connected Educator of the Month.

Mary inspires her students to become better journalists and produce their best work. Her students consistently present outstanding pitches.

We asked Mary a few questions to get her insight on why a youth perspective is needed in media.

1. What was your favorite PBS show as a kid?
Unfortunately, PBS’s children programming came along after I had already passed that age group, so I would have to answer this as a mother and say that “Sesame Street” was the household favorite with my children.

2. If you could swap lives with a journalist for a day, who would it be and why?
I would want to be Lisa Ling. I love how she brings to light the human side of stories that no one else bothers to tell.

3. What do you believe are the benefits of training students to tell stories through video?
From now on, they will always look for details most others would overlook. It forces them to look at their surroundings and think visually for the audience.

4. Why do you believe student voices are important in the news?
Youth bring great insight from their perspective. So many times we forget to ask them what they think about issues, which really disenfranchises them from the very stories that, in most cases, impact them.

5. While participating in the SRL Teacher Bootcamp, what surprised you the most about yourself?
First, I was surprised by how much confidence I gained from working with such amazing teachers. Second, I was even more surprised that I could transfer that feeling of confidence to my students.

6. What lessons have you learned so far, and how do they inform your teaching?
I have learned that identifying and tackling small improvements are more important than trying to get the perfect story the first time. Teaching the students to find their successes by unpacking their stories one element at a time is a great confidence builder for them. Once they have a skill mastered, it becomes easier for them to take the lead the next time around.

7. What do you hope to accomplish with SRL?
My hope for this year is that my students end the year as better skilled storytellers than when they started. We’ll accomplish this by tackling the Rapid Responses and allowing them to find and develop stories that really interest them.