Staying Positive in Uncertain Times

Welcome to the KABT blog segment, “In My Classroom”. This is a segment that will post about every two weeks from a different member. In 250 words or less, share one thing that you are currently doing in your classroom. That’s it. This is not one of those posts. Not really, at least. 

If you aren’t following the news and/or don’t live in Kansas, you might not know we’re having a bit of a budget issue which has impacted our schools and might result in teachers not getting paid for the work they’ve already done. My aim here is not to be political, but if you would like to discuss that side of things, please let me know. Needless to say, there is blame to pass around, and while it may not be evenly spread among our three branches of government, it probably doesn’t all go to the same person/place.  At this point, the problem is there, and we can only work to solve it; pointing fingers and assigning blame will NOT serve in the best interest in our students, and will NOT get schools open in the fall. So I will not (for now) fall into this partisan trap, and I will trust in the process.


I often tell my students “all you can do is all that you can do”. None of what I am doing is work specifically in the contract I signed at the beginning of the school year, and I won’t be paid for any of it. And none of what I am doing is particularly unique. In every district in this state there are many like me, and I am sure several working harder than even I can imagine. In this strange time, it is important for us to stick together, and for us to continue to shout out our friends and colleagues for the amazing work they’re doing. Be a beacon of hope to your students, colleagues, and communities, so they know there is someone who cares about their kids as much as they do, and who is working for them no matter the odds.


The members of the KABT are amazing teachers who inspire me every day to get better at my craft, and to learn more content. They are explorers and innovators. There are people giving up their ENTIRE summer break to participate in RETs (go Jesi!). There are people offering summer classes and science camps (proud of you, OBTA Kluthe). There are many people working on Master’s degrees in education and biology.  And there are people who, despite no indication that anyone in power cares if we are working in August or not, are tweaking, perfecting, adding, revamping, or collaborating to make the best possible learning experience for their students. Why? Because they are professionals who are going to do the job they were and are contracted to do, they’re going to be ready when the fall semester starts, and they refuse to compromise on the quality of their work because they know doing so may do irreparable harm to an entire generation of students.

What am I doing in my classroom? I am learning and trying to make myself a better teacher so that I can be considered worthy of the company I keep. I am creating connections with researchers to get my students equipment and experiences to enrich their classroom lessons. I’m writing grants so that my school’s already tight budget has a little less stress on it. I am starting a transition away from traditional grading schemes and moving towards standards-based grades with students being accountable for their curriculum and the evidence demonstrating they know the content (based off of the work of Camden Burton and Kelly Kluthe). I’m working on learning a new LMS (Canvas) so I can be as close to an expert as I can be when our first day of inservice rolls around in August when I know others will have questions. I am presenting to several teacher groups on topics I’m passionate about. I’ve rearranged my classroom and lab environments to make them more open to learning and sharing. (Not to mention my “little side project” as daddy-daycare provider to a two year-old girl.)

Keep up your amazing work, everybody. Share what you’re up to this summer (in or out of the classroom) on our Facebook page. I can’t thank you enough for what you do!


Drew Ising
Biology Teacher, Baldwin City, KS
President-Elect, KABT

One Response to “Staying Positive in Uncertain Times

  • shawn gibson
    8 years ago

    Right now we are in the middle of a variety of different dissections. I know it is a hot button issue, the whole ethics of dissections. I personally believe that there is not better teaching tool, then to allow the students to explore in a safe and inviting room. These are the things that the students are going to remember and this is where the greatest learning takes place. Would love to hear other peoples thoughts on this.

    On a side note, the teachers of Ontario and behind all teacher groups fighting for better working conditions. We need to remember that “we need to stand up for public education”.