EAST MONTPELIER – Vermont’s 2017 Teacher of the Year, Kate McCann, is a high school mathematics teacher at U-32 High School. We recently got the chance to sit down with McCann and asked her about this tremendous achievement.
The Winooksi: So, Kate, can we call you Kate? You have been named Vermont teacher of the year for the first time, is that right?
Kate McCann: That’s correct.
TW: So why this year? What is it about this moment that has caused such recognition for you?
KM: That’s an easy one. Fidget Spinners.
TW: Really? Those little toys that are being banned from school classrooms left and right?
KM: Absolutely. It’s crazy that schools are banning them. I think it’s why I’m so ahead of the pack this year. Kids can really only learn with dozens of spinning, whirring devices flying around their heads. It’s even better if they use the ones that light up, but I understand that not every family can afford the deluxe models.
TW: Flying around their heads? They fly?
KM: Well, not on purpose of course, but once those things get going and you lose control of them, they go everywhere. It’s fantastic.
TW: And you would say that this helps students learn mathematics?
KM: I’m sorry, it’s hard for me to focus on your questions without my fidget spinner out. Do you mind?
TW: Ummm, sure. Go right ahead.
KM: Thanks. Now, what were you saying?
TW: How do fidget spinners help students learn math?
KM: How DON’T fidget spinners help students learn math, am I right?
TW: I don’t know, I think…ahhhh!
KM: Oh, sorry. See what I mean? Could you hand that back to me?
A visit to McCann’s classroom showed every student furiously spinning their devices while completing complicated mathematical equations, while the spinner-free students in the adjacent classroom were unable to perform single digit addition. McCann’s success comes hot on the heels of the announcement from the U.S. Department of Education, in which Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed replacing all U.S. textbooks with fidget spinners to save costs.
Image Credits: Ryan Dickey.