Our new series of 1-on-1 interviews called ¨How I Teach¨ will give insight into how educators are using Symbaloo in different ways. Learn about their journey as a teacher and how they are using Symbaloo to aid their classrooms!

To kickstart this new series, we are featuring a chat with Bob Hayes (@HappyHayes311)! Bob is a teacher from Illinois who has been using Symbaloo for several years. As an educational influencer, he is an originator of using Symbaloo for effective online instruction.

Bob loves sharing Symbaloo with others, which is why we chose him to launch our interview series. His success serves as a great example of how an engaged educator can make a difference in the lives of their students. Without further ado, here’s Bob:

Symbaloo 1-on-1 Interview

How I Teach: Bob Hayes

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Bob Hayes. I am a EdTech Specialist from Springfield, Illinois. I am a cyclist, a jam skater, I love to build legos, collect Disney pins, and most importantly, spend time with my family!

What made you decide to become a teacher?  

I had many teachers in my family. As I was finishing up my bachelors in Communications preparing to go to grad school in Sport Management, I was doing a lot of basketball officiating. As I was reffing a 1st-2nd grade basketball game one Friday night, a friends mom walked up to me at the end of the night and told me I needed to become a teacher. She stated I was out on the court taking the time to teach the kids the game rather than walking around the court blowing my whistle for a paycheck. I looked at her and said OK, I will go home to tell my mom tonight! And so it began…

Why did you choose to use Symbaloo in your class?

I chose to use Symbaloo with my class because it had honestly changed my life in a positive way with relation to organization and time efficiency. I truly appreciate how simple it is to use, how attractive it is, and how any user can make it work to fit their needs. I wanted the same for my students.

What were your first thoughts when it became evident you’d need to take on distance learning due to COVID-19?

My thoughts when distance learning became a thing…I am sure you would like me to keep my language school friendly here! LOL My main role is to teach teachers tech integration. All of a sudden, my job became valuable beyond reason to a multitude of educators who may or may not have known I existed. I have never been so busy in my life, but wow…I feel amazing about the difference I am making in the lives of teachers, staff, students, and parents!

What are your current main challenges with distance learning and what are you doing to overcome or diminish those challenges?

One of my greatest challenges right now is pulling myself away from work. I refuse to go to bed at night with any unanswered emails in my inbox. A great number of people are depending on me, and I find it absolutely necessary to make sure I get my people taken care of so they can do the same for their people. If a staff member is waiting on me for something, that means they probably have someone, such as a parent or student, waiting on them. The other challenge I deal with in my role, remember, I am a teacher, is our union. I won’t go into details on that, but the president of our union is super unprofessional, dishonest, and aggressive. It causes a lot of negativity in our district and community, and that is the last thing we need right now. Education is a system, and when you only focus on one piece of that system, teachers, the system falls apart. It is super important to remember the parents, students, and community are just as important!

How is Symbaloo helping you with distance learning?

Symbaloo is helping me in distance learning through the simple piece of keeping my world organized. I don’t have to sift through bookmarks, searches, etc. to find the tools I need to bring success in whatever I am working on at the time.

If you could give any advice to fellow teachers about distance learning, what would it be?

My advice is sparked from something one of my fellow educators tweeted out the other day. Dwayne Reed, @TeachMrReed, said this. “These kids are either gon’ do the work or they’re not. They gon’ be on your video chat, or they won’t. They is no need to stress yourself about it. I don’t care what anybody’s district has to say about it.” I absolutely loved this. We can say the same thing about educators. They are either going to step up to the challenge of distance learning, or they won’t. Those who are stepping up to the challenges of distance learning, but have never experienced it prior to now, are ALL drinking through fire hoses. There is no other way to do it right now! It is ok to not reach every kid. It is ok to not stay on your pacing chart. It is ok to take a break. It is ok to get outside and do something that allows you to keep being you. We will get through this, and we all will be better, smarter, and stronger educators because of it! 

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