Award-winning teaching tips revealed! Join us for our Season 3 Premiere with 2023 GA Teacher of the Year, Michael Kobito.

 

Michael Kobito in Classroom Conversations

Michael Kobito of Woodland High School is Georgia's 2023 Teacher of the Year! Today, he's joining us in studio to tell us how finding our why can transform our classrooms, our students, and ourselves.

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TRANSCRIPT

Ashley Mengwasser: Georgia teachers, hello. Are you here to celebrate? Because my goodness, we did it. We have achieved third season status. Welcome to Classroom Conversation season three. It's your usual suspect here, host Ashley Mengwasser. I am back in the studio saddle on the steel horse I ride, my microphone. Yes, I found a way to shamelessly integrate my idol. Jon Bon Jovi, I love you.

It's fairly commonplace for any notable series to reach its fullest glory in the third act. Don't believe me? Oh, so many shows peak in season three, you guys. Lost, Parks and Rec, Grey's Anatomy. I was still watching that in season 18, but had to give it up. Like these mentions, we are back and bigger than ever in S3 and we're kicking off our new season with the best of the best because why bury the lead. But first, our reason for being, we have the production partnership between education powerhouse, Georgia Department of Education and media powerhouse, Georgia Public Broadcasting to kneel before in gratitude. Thank you, you fine Georgia Gods of Content for presenting the Classroom Conversations podcast series.

Our first episode of season three comes with some fanfare. Our esteemed guest has swooped in from Acworth where he teaches AP Music Theory and is director of bands at Woodland High School. He was chosen from among 145 quintessential teachers from our state. Why? Because he was named your 2023 Georgia Teacher of the Year. Teachers, slap your desks, throw some papers for Georgia's 51st TOTY, Mr. Michael Kobito. Hey, Michael.

Michael Kobito: Hey. How's it going?

Ashley Mengwasser: How are you doing today?

Michael Kobito: I'm great. Thank you for that kind introduction.

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, you are welcome, sir. I wish I had some balloons and some confetti for you to enter the studio in.

Michael Kobito: It's okay. We can just say that they're here. No one can see us, so it kind of works out.

Ashley Mengwasser: Yeah. Exactly. Except for when the video component of this podcast is posted.

Michael Kobito: Ah.

Ashley Mengwasser: Then they'll know.

Michael Kobito: Oops.

Ashley Mengwasser: Do you have a special Teacher of the Year name tag that you wear or a crown or anything?

Michael Kobito: I actually don't. My kids got me a crown to wear when I won for my school system.

Ashley Mengwasser: Did they really?

Michael Kobito: But I don't wear it, I think it's a little bit too much.

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, I disagree. I wish you would've brought it today, Michael.

Michael Kobito: Next time.

Ashley Mengwasser: Honestly, I'm disappointed. Well, I'm first going to interview you like this is a People magazine spread.

Michael Kobito: Perfect.

Ashley Mengwasser: I bet they didn't prepare you for that when you became Teacher of the Year.

Michael Kobito: No, they did not, but that's okay. I'm here to roll with the punches. That's what teachers do.

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, my gosh. That's why you're a teacher of the year. Let's start with what you do for fun in your spare time. Wink, wink.

Michael Kobito: So yeah, I mean, the nerdy answer to this is I'm a musician, I'm a music teacher and one of the things I do for fun is I play the trumpet. I really love making music and getting to share music with people. But when I'm not doing things that are related to my work, me and my wife love to travel. We love to see the world whenever we have a break or holiday, one of the great things about teaching is you have opportunities to do things. So we travel a lot. We went to Thailand and Dubai and London last summer. We just got back from the Grand Canyon and Zion and-

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh my gosh.

Michael Kobito: ... Las Vegas over Thanksgiving. We went to Paris last Thanksgiving. We just love to travel.

Ashley Mengwasser: Is there somewhere you haven't been?

Michael Kobito: A little more places that I haven't been than I have been. I really want to get to Australia. I really want to get to South America. Those are the continents that I'm missing. We're looking at an Israel trip and a Morocco trip coming up soon, a Japan trip, and then she really wants to do an African safari and how could I say no to that?

Ashley Mengwasser: Exactly. Have you been to Ireland?

Michael Kobito: Not yet.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's on my must-see list. I was an English major, so Irish literature's right up there.

Michael Kobito: Oh, very cool.

Ashley Mengwasser: Yeah. What is one thing, Michael, that you think every individual should try in life?

Michael Kobito: I think every individual should try the act of traveling. I think getting out there and seeing the world and learning new things is what makes the world flow. And we're living in a world where the world is continuously getting bigger and the things from everywhere are coming closer to where we are. So getting the opportunity to open your eyes and your mind to the world is something that everyone deserves to have.

Ashley Mengwasser: Right. That distance is shrinking. You're right. What is the best trip you've ever had?

Michael Kobito: Best trip, I'd probably say was this Thailand trip. Me and my wife and our best friend spent two weeks in Thailand. We went to Bangkok for a couple of days. We went up to Chiang Mai and went to an elephant sanctuary and got to feed and bathe and walk with and spent time with these rescued elephants. And we spent some time in Phuket, which is where James Bond Island is.

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh.

Michael Kobito: So, we spent two weeks in Thailand and man, talk about different culture, different food, different way of life, but just people being people. It was unbelievable.

Ashley Mengwasser: You've done so many cool things. Have there been any travel travails? Any crazy obstacles that you've encountered?

Michael Kobito: Yeah, so this travel bug started for me when I was a kid. I was born in Japan. I started school in England, so I always had this bug for travel. But when I got to college, we hadn't really been anywhere in a while because I was in school. So me and my best friend Ian decided to go backpack Europe. So we spent 35 days and traveled around 19 different cities and spent some great time. But we stopped in Austria in a place called Innsbruck, which is kind of an outlet to get into the Alps. So we were silly college kids and I didn't want to pack a lot of stuff because we were traveling so much. My hiking shoes were these indoor soccer shoes, these light Pumas with no tread really because they were old. And we saw this hike that said, "For experienced hikers only."

Ashley Mengwasser: What did you think of yourself in that moment?

Michael Kobito: I was not super confident. My buddy Ian, he was a boy scout for two weeks, and we had hiked Kennesaw Mountain and Stone Mountain so we're like, "We could do this."

Ashley Mengwasser: Experienced? Check.

Michael Kobito: Right. So we started the hike and we got about halfway up we thought and realized that we couldn't go up, down, left, or right. So we were stuck. And there was a moment where I was, "I'm going to have to call a life flight. This is going to cost like $10,000. My dad's going to kill me." But luckily these Austrian guys saw that we were obviously out of our league and basically came and walked us down the mountain to the sky bucket that would've just taken us to the top the easy way.

Ashley Mengwasser: There was a sky bucket?

Michael Kobito: Yes, there was a sky bucket. Oops.

Ashley Mengwasser: Did you have any flares in that moment or you probably wish you had some flares?

Michael Kobito: I had no flares. I had no phone service. It literally was these guys that were experienced hikers. And they said that they had to do this to someone yesterday and the day before, someone couldn't find access to someone. So they had to pay 10,000 euro to get flown off the side of that mountain.

Ashley Mengwasser: Wow. You are worldly. I will give you that. That is a wonderful thing. And here's a last warmup question for you, Michael, about true teacher alignment. How do George's educators know they are in the right profession? How do you know?

Michael Kobito: It's a really tricky question because it's different for a lot of different people. For me, I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be when I look at kids and I look at people and I see shiny eyes when I see that response, that engagement and that excitement for learning. People talk about those light bulb moments, but for me, it's the shiny eyes. Just knowing that people are with me and experiencing and learning throughout the journey. And I will say that... And the teacher burnout report just came out. So there's some evidence behind this that teaching it's a difficult profession at times. It's a really hard journey. And I find that it's because all the people that got into teaching got into it for the passion of it. It's a passion project.

And when you have something that you're so passionate about, the great days feel amazing and the bad days feel really bad. But my encouragement for all those teachers out there that are fighting that is we got to weigh those great days and not forget about them when the pendulum swings in the other direction. And I think that we'll find that those shiny eyes are there every day if we're looking for them.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's right.

Michael Kobito: So, continue to be positive and think about those things that we can do to help ourselves continue to remember why we do what we do.

Ashley Mengwasser: Shiny eyes, that's a brilliant concept. Pun intended better than dead eyes too, right?

Michael Kobito: Yes. That is the preferred one.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's something you see you, that glossed over face when someone's not paying attention, or they're zoned out or...

Michael Kobito: Totally. Totally.

Ashley Mengwasser: Yeah.

Michael Kobito: So being able to see those shiny eyes versus the dead eyes. You know how to pivot to make your engagement level higher or do something wacky or if they're with you and you have those shiny eyes and it's about something that's maybe more pedantic or a little more boring you know can stay there a little bit longer.

Ashley Mengwasser: Yeah. Because you got them.

Michael Kobito: Yeah, exactly. But at the end of the day, when you smile, when you laugh, when you're emotional, your eyes become shiny.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's beautiful.

Michael Kobito: And that's what we want.

Ashley Mengwasser: Your eyes are shining right now.

Michael Kobito: So are yours.

Ashley Mengwasser: We're excited to be here.

Michael Kobito: Yes.

Ashley Mengwasser: We're passionate about this.

Michael Kobito: Definitely.

Ashley Mengwasser: We now know your who, what, where, and now for the wherefore. For what reason, your why, which is what our episode is all about today. And all stories should begin here, right? At the beginning. And it's the subject we're here to explore with you. So why do you teach Michael? I know that's a big question.

Michael Kobito: That is a big question. And the cliché is, I had a lot of great teachers. I was really blessed to have a lot of really fantastic teachers. But the reason that this whole thing started for me, especially in teaching music when I came to the United States, I started school in the British school system. I was a really big soccer player. I was pretty competitive and I really enjoyed that activity and I really enjoyed being the best at everything. I got to fifth grade and some guy from the middle school band program came by with a trumpet mouthpiece and he let us all try it out to see if we could make a sound. And I tried and I tried and I tried and it just never worked. And he said, "Maybe band's not for you."

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, no.

Michael Kobito: Instead of letting me try a different instrument or do something else, he told me that it wasn't for me. I wasn't going to be successful at it. So my response was, "Yes, I am."

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh.

Michael Kobito: "Watch me." So I got to sixth grade band, I had Sheila Smith, greatest middle school band director in the country, in my eyes, of course.

Ashley Mengwasser: In your shiny eyes.

Michael Kobito: In my shiny eyes, got me started and really allowed me to realize how great it is to learn and get better and not be better than anyone else, but to just be your very best. So that early setting of that helped me fall in love with music. And then my high school band director, Eric Willoughby, just instituted in me that I have the ability to make people feel that way. I've got the arsenal, I've got the passion, the drive and the skillset to make people feel the way that he made me feel and the way that Ms. Smith made me feel. So all of those different stars aligned into me becoming a teacher.

Ashley Mengwasser: I love that you received that as a motivator. You were unflappable in the face of that because that could have been crushing information.

Michael Kobito: Totally. And the flip side of that is it does make me wonder how many students out there heard that sentence and then stop doing-

Ashley Mengwasser: Something.

Michael Kobito: ... What they could have done. So as a teacher, I very rarely say "No." When a kid asks, "Can I dunk a basketball?" "Maybe not. That might not be the thing that you were able to do today." But for everything else, I think kids have so much potential. I mean, every person can learn. And that was a situation for me where I was inspired by that out of rage or spite. But I don't know if that every kid has that experience and that kind of breaks my heart.

Ashley Mengwasser: Okay. Well they can, especially under your instruction. You said when you came to the United States. From where?

Michael Kobito: From England. So I was born in Okinawa, Japan. My dad worked for the military and then we lived in England for five or six years. I moved here in 2001 or 2002 rather. And I've been in Cartersville, Georgia.

Ashley Mengwasser: You're a Georgian.

Michael Kobito: That's right.

Ashley Mengwasser: How do you like them apples?

Michael Kobito: They're pretty all right.

Ashley Mengwasser: I'm glad to hear it. You mentioned some of the educators who influenced you. Are there more? Are there others? Tell me about some of the highlights along the way.

Michael Kobito: Oh totally. I mean, Eric Willoughby was my high school band director and my biggest mentor, so my dream job as a sophomore was not to be an astronaut or an athlete or the president. It was to be Eric Willoughby's assistant high school band director.

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, that was good.

Michael Kobito: Which is the nerdiest thing I probably could say today. And then I got to UGA where I wanted to be just like Mr. Willoughby. He was a UGA drum major of the Redcoat band.

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, look at that.

Michael Kobito: So that was my dream. And eventually that came true. And I graduated from college and I wanted to be his assistant high school band director. But that job wasn't open that year. So I went and taught at Newnan High School for a year. The job eventually opens at Woodland with Mr. Willoughby. I applied for the job and I got the job. So I became his assistant and he was the head director.

Ashley Mengwasser: Your dream.

Michael Kobito: And then he went on into administration. I became the head director and he was basically my principal. And then he retired and then I won Teacher of the Year. And he's back at Woodland teaching my kids.

Ashley Mengwasser: Look at that.

Michael Kobito: In the same community. So he's been super inspirational for me through this entire journey. And I've got a lot of teachers. I teach at my alma mater. So I walk down the hallways and I see Ms. Queen and Ms. Bell and all of these teachers that Ms. Hunter, that changed my life. So it feels a little bit surreal, but I've been blessed with a lot of great influences.

Ashley Mengwasser: That is a beautiful full circle tale. And I think what's powerful about it is you show that if you gravitate toward your mentors and work under your mentors, that you can achieve the things that you set out to achieve.

Michael Kobito: Totally.

Ashley Mengwasser: Things aren't done in a vacuum.

Michael Kobito: Yeah. The beauty of schools is there are so many mentors out there and I think even for kids that don't want to go into teaching, that want to go into something else, having a mentor in their school allows them to know that what they think they can do, they can do.

Ashley Mengwasser: Right. Yes. I remember when I was younger, a lot younger Michael first grade I think. And I was first conceptualizing about what I was going to be when I grew up. I wanted to be either the President of the United States, a job I do not want today, or a dental hygienist because I always really cared about dental hygiene.

Michael Kobito: You have great teeth so that works out.

Ashley Mengwasser: Thank you. Thank you very much. And then I got to be about five or six and I watched a local TV legend on the TV and I said, "I'm going to work in media and television." And I knew that at five or six.

Michael Kobito: Wow.

Ashley Mengwasser: Never went back. It's crazy.

Michael Kobito: It's crazy.

Ashley Mengwasser: So, when you listen to that voice inside you, it's amazing where it can take you and other people find their path through happenstance and they become amazing teachers because they just somehow fell into it and can't get out.

Michael Kobito: Yeah, exactly. It's a lot of serendipity involved.

Ashley Mengwasser: Describe how you engage your students. I know they're from all backgrounds, abilities and identities in their learning, but how do you engage all of them?

Michael Kobito: And that's a thing that's really important for all classrooms and for a class like mine, I teach high school band and AP music theory. We've got kids that are playing all sorts of different instruments with different skill sets and experiences. But one of the things that I do a lot, which maybe is conventional or un is, I just communicate with my kids constantly. We talk all the time about not only the mechanics of what we're doing in the classroom, how do I play my trumpet better? How do I play my clarinet better? How do I read this notation? But we also talk about meaning in music, motifs, all the different things that go into the learning experience. It's a constant communication between me and the students. It's not a sit and get type of experience for my kids.

My kids will make musical decisions that sometimes I don't agree with, but we're democratic for the most part, as long as it doesn't go against the composer's desires. But it's a constant communication that I think keeps kids engaged in their learning.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's right.

Michael Kobito: Because it's about them.

Ashley Mengwasser: So, you have functionally a system in place. You're communicating openly all the time and it's bidirectional and it's reciprocal. How does building relationships with students factor into your ability to engage with them?,

Michael Kobito: Well, without that relationship, the communication is irrelevant. If a kid does not trust you or trust that they are in a safe place to speak their mind with you, communication won't happen. It won't be genuine at least. So for me, greeting my kids when they walk in the door is a thing that people tell teachers to do. But the way that you greet kids when they walk in the door is huge. Do you say their name? Do you actually look into their shiny eyes-

Ashley Mengwasser: Their shiny eyes.

Michael Kobito: ... When you walk in the door? Do you tell them have a great day at the end of the day and do you mean it? Kids really pick up on those little nuances on how do you see them? Are they really being seen? And building those relationships is the key to engagement, trust, being vulnerable and willing to learn.

Ashley Mengwasser: Hey, Georgia teachers have you logged on to Georgia Connects? In Georgia Connects you can explore current Georgia standards through Suitcase. You can even copy and paste the language of the standards. In Georgia Connects you can plan a lesson in Georgia Inspire by dragging and dropping standards and relevant resources. You can save, print, share, even add that planned lesson to your school's platform. The Georgia Department of Education developed Georgia Connects with input from the experts in our state, our Georgia teachers. To get to Georgia Connects, just visit gaconnects.gadoe.org.

We heard in seasons one and two of Classroom Conversations how connecting with the community is a powerful way to dissolve classroom walls and impact students learning and success. Can you describe some specific ways that you connect with your community and the result?

Michael Kobito: Yeah. I mean, it's really easy for me because I teach high school band. Every Friday night, you're going to see me-

Ashley Mengwasser: There they are.

Michael Kobito: ... And my kids at a high school football game. But some of the things about high school band that people don't realize is we do a lot more than just that. Our community outreach, we have concerts throughout the year. We do a full fine arts department Veterans Day program where we celebrate and honor our United States military veterans. We do joint concerts with different organizations. We'll come in and do, we have the Georgia Brass Band, we've done it with the Atlanta Wind Symphony. We'll come and sit with our students and do a concert with them and give master classes. And my kids have formed connections with professional musicians in the community through so.

Ashley Mengwasser: Professional elites.

Michael Kobito: Exactly. We did a concert last year where we played at the state conference, which is a really big deal for our kids. It's like winning a state championship in football.

Ashley Mengwasser: Amazing.

Michael Kobito: And we had Phil Smith and Brandon Craswell solo with the band. Phil Smith was principal trumpet of the New York Philharmonic for 40 plus years.

Ashley Mengwasser: Wow.

Michael Kobito: So, my kids getting to share the stage, I mean that's another way that the community and my kids get to merge and be part of the same because they are.

Ashley Mengwasser: They are. Exactly. You're Teacher of the Year, Michael. You've got a torch to bear, man. Describe how you advocate for your students, for your school, for the state of Georgia.

Michael Kobito: In the role or in general?

Ashley Mengwasser: In the role.

Michael Kobito: There really wasn't a handbook that they prepared you with as you went through the application process. But some of the ways that I advocate, I sit on the state board of education, so I get to be a part of discussion and policy making with members of the state board. So when they have questions about how does this really apply in the classroom, what does this look like in the classroom for teachers and for kids, I'm able to be, not the voice of reason, but the voice of current day experience. So that's been huge.

I spent a lot of time going around the state speaking at different conferences and events. So sharing some of my experiences that I've had at Woodland High School and in Bartow County that have been positive and that could be changed. I get to share those with people all across the state. And I've done some national events as well with different conferences here and there. But really I'm trying to advocate for every single kid in every corner of our state that deserves the education and every single teacher that deserves the support that they need to make that education possible.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's wonderful. And throughout this process, what would you say is your driving message, your overarching message that you want to share with others teaching in the state of Georgia?

Michael Kobito: One of the big things is when I went into this whole thing, it was about teacher recruitment, retention, and burnout was one of the big things-

Ashley Mengwasser: That is a huge cycle.

Michael Kobito: ... That was really preaching about when Sherry had the task force, had that teacher burnout report come through. That was music to my ears. I was, this is exactly what I've been talking about and researching and looking at. But I think one of the things that I'm really trying to push across to everyone I meet is every person can learn. It's not just the kids that can learn. Adults need to learn too. We need to be willing to see forward and not think so much backwards. I think sometimes as educators or educational leaders or policymakers, we sometimes think so much about the experience that we had as kids and we want to give that experience to our kids.

Ashley Mengwasser: To this generation.

Michael Kobito: But the thing is, the way that we were learning about things in the 70s or 80s or 90s might not be as applicable as it will be in 2030 or 2040 or 2050. So I think we all just need to remember that every person can learn and we all have to be willing to do that work.

Ashley Mengwasser: That's your message. Every person can learn. And that the learning experience is bidirectional, I think is interesting too because you're talking about for the teacher there's stuff that you can glean and gain from your little students in front of you who are their own brilliant minds.

Michael Kobito: Totally. I think we forget how smart kids are and I think we forget that every person wants to learn. Schools can sometimes do this thing where the creativity that it's natural for a human being gets stripped away.

Ashley Mengwasser: No.

Michael Kobito: Because of other things that are pressing from other sources or other things. But I think that we all just have to continue on this pathway of remembering the reason that we got into education.

Ashley Mengwasser: Right! Champion that. Keep the eyes shiny.

Michael Kobito: Shiny eyes.

Ashley Mengwasser: No dead eyes in your classroom. You're clearly doing a few things right, Michael. Do you have a couple of teaching tips that you'd be willing to share or impart with us before you go?

Michael Kobito: Big things are, don't forget to continue to learn as adults. And I don't think you have to learn things that are just classroom related. Go out there and learn about different cultures, different people, different foods, different languages. Learn an instrument if you don't play one already. Continue to learn because I think that's a skillset that we sometimes forget is important. I think some more tips would be continue to be more curious as we go through life. Ask more questions than you give answers to. And the last thing is, I think creativity is where the world is going. So I mean, teachers are artists. Artists are artists, but teachers are artists too. Be creative, find ways to do things that are out of the box. Don't just open the box up and see what's inside. See what is all around it as well. Be creative.

Ashley Mengwasser: Be creative. What's next for you, Mike? Are you on tour? Is there a black car outside that's going to whisk you away?

Michael Kobito: I hope so.

Ashley Mengwasser: To another studio, maybe free post-it notes and teacher things that's what I imagine.

Michael Kobito: I'd love to have a driver that would take me somewhere. So if anyone's interested in that, call me up. But I'm just here, just doing things like this, trying to advocate for the best in education because the best is yet to come and I'm excited to be a part of whatever that journey looks like.

Ashley Mengwasser: I love the spirit of that. What are you teaching in band right now? What music?

Michael Kobito: So, the funny thing is, as Teacher of the Year, they put you on a full year sabbatical.

Ashley Mengwasser: What?

Michael Kobito: Yeah.

Ashley Mengwasser: I never knew that.

Michael Kobito: Yeah. Surprise. So I'm actually not in the classroom at this very moment. Mr. Willoughby, my-

Ashley Mengwasser: No, you're here at this very moment, Michael.

Michael Kobito: ... Correct. Or in your car or in your headphones, wherever you are. But my kids are working towards, we're marching the London New Year's Day parade.

Ashley Mengwasser: Amazing.

Michael Kobito: In '23. So that might have already happened when you're listening to this. We're playing at the University of Georgia's Jan Fest as a featured group. So that'll be in January. But our kids are learning all sorts of different types of music and diverse composers. I try to make sure my kids play music that are written by people that look like them and identify as them and are like them so that they can see that their trajectory is, the sky's the limit. But to answer in specifics, I can't give you that because my colleague Holly Maldonado, who's awesome, and Eric Willoughby and Sheila Smith, who are subbing for me this year as I'm on sabbatical, are doing great work with my kids.

Ashley Mengwasser: I bet they are. Well, we'll be watching you and your people. They usually say the man, the myth, and the legend. But Michael Kobito, you are a legendary man. No myth involved. Thanks for being here today.

Michael Kobito: Thanks for having me.

Ashley Mengwasser: Before you go, Michael, I want to ask for one pearl of wisdom that you can leave us with in a nutshell. Package it beautifully for our shiny eyes.

Michael Kobito: I'll give you two. Is that okay?

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh, I love two.

Michael Kobito: From Jacob Collier, one of my favorite quotes is, "Music is just another language, but it's very special because it crosses everyone's borders."

Ashley Mengwasser: Oh.

Michael Kobito: And then from education guru Sir Ken Robinson, he says, "Creativity is as important as literacy. And that is the way of the future."

Ashley Mengwasser: I would say mic drop, but we take care of our microphones around here.

Michael Kobito: Yeah, they're very sturdy here.

Ashley Mengwasser: They are. Thank you so much, Michael. That's Georgia's 2023 Teacher of the Year, actually, the 51st. You're a beautiful 51st. Georgia educators, thank you for returning to Classroom Conversations. The platform for Georgia's teachers. Let Michael's wise, why words flow through your very beings today as you consider your own why. Whatever brings you to the front of your classroom, you're there for your own reason and the result is obvious. You're a great teacher. I'm Ashley Mengwasser. Ready your ears for more phenomenal season three content back next week. Goodbye for now.

Funding for Classroom Conversations is made possible through the School Climate Transformation Grant.