Welcome to Episode 1 of the Growth Over Grades Podcast! In this episode, we chat with Dene Gainey. Dene is a phenomenal educator and just completed his 17th year in the classroom. He’s also an accomplished author, singer, speaker, playwright, and a United States Air Force Veteran. He draws power from each of these roles and shares that they have been a strong influence on the way he teaches. In our podcast, he also shares about his first grade teacher who “exemplified care” and the role obstacles play in shaping who he is and how he is able to reach his students.
"While it's important to consume knowledge...we also want students to seek out knowledge and also to create and make something that can be shared..."
Getting Back to School Life Was Exhausting
In this episode, Dene opens up about the challenges this school year (2021-22) brought and what kept him going. He says that teachers are facing exhaustion this year like they’ve never felt after many had a year of remote teaching. Getting back into school life and the habits of schooling took a lot of focus and attention as well as teaching content. He also reflects on how he celebrates growth over grades with his students.
My favorite part of this episode is when he explains how it’s about the “reach not just the teach.” He wants his students to be empowered with the how, why, and what of all they learn so they can go out in the world and do anything they want to make it better. He is a doctoral student and proclaimed life-long learner. His words will resonate with many. I’ve known Dene for a few years and his integrity matches his speech, which just like his actions, are purposeful and life-affirming for everyone around him.
You can find out more about Dene and his work on his website.
Dene mentions some of his favorite EdTech tools: Spaces, BookBreator App, Adobe Spark, and Canva.
Did you like the song he sings at the end of the podcast? You can find it here.