Guest Blog Post by Virtual Fall CUE Featured Speaker Mary Hendra

Are you a “human venn diagram?” I am. I suspect we all are in different ways! For me, my teacher identity intersects with being a community creator and team-builder. Overlaying both, the creative in me is always seeking expression, innovation, and even a bit of play.

For years, CUE has been a source for feeding and building that spirit of innovation and play in me and with the team members and teachers I serve.  The shift in recent years for CUE to center issues of equity and access when we talk about tech in education has made my connection to CUE even stronger since that is a vital part of me as both teacher and community creator.

I’ve been teaching in one way or another, online and in person, for over 24 years, but I am not one of those people who always knew I wanted to teach. I’m a career shifter. As an early professional, I started volunteering, which led me to a few unusual activities:

  • Getting certified in mediation and mediating youth offender cases to give them an alternative path of growth and reconciliation rather than incarceration, and
  • Facilitating teen abuse prevention lessons for the LA Commission on Assaults Against Women.

As a result, listening deeply, creating spaces for vulnerability and growth, and being respectful of deeply personal experiences was my foundation before taking my first education class or stepping into a single classroom. From those early days to today, my goal with any engagement is to create transformational educational experiences that build empathy, tap into creativity, and ground achievement in the work that matters. That’s what I’m looking forward to bringing to CUE this year with two sessions that focus on creating communities strong enough for the issues of current times – and true differences – to be genuinely explored with curiosity.

Over the years, I’ve learned that for a community to be strong, it needs to be willing to dive into the seriousness of these issues, but it also needs a bit of play and creativity. Sometimes the elements of my human venn seem to pull against each other, but in THIS work – building communities strong enough for deep discovery – all aspects of my own identity become more united! Technological innovation as well as artistic creativity, when grounded in a spirit of purpose, allows for a different type of engagement. Remembering the human on the other side of technology fosters engagement that can be playful and creative as well as connected enough to dive into serious topics.

I hope you’ll join me for one or both sessions and bring YOUR human venn into the conversation!

Mary Hendra has spent 24 years in education, teaching students and educators in online, in-person, and hybrid settings. Her publications include “An Integrated Approach to SEL and Social Studies” (Social  Studies Review, 2019-20). In 2020, she facilitated online educator workshops to release stress and re-energize through the use of digital,  visual, and kinesthetic strategies.  She currently serves as Southern  California Program Director for Facing History and Ourselves.

Virtual Fall CUE Registration – October 22-26

Virtual Fall CUE registration is OPEN and just $79! Prepare for school with hundreds of sessions from the best edtech presenters in education! Schools around the country are looking to find ways to manage teaching online or in a blended setting. Fall CUE is the virtual conference bringing thought-leadership discussions and best practices on all things pedagogy, blended and online teaching strategies, and edtech tools!

Mercedes Maskalik

About Mercedes Maskalik