Igniting My Passion for the Teaching Profession

During her senior year in high school, my daughter was in honors chemistry, and all she did was worksheets.

When she shared this with me, I was shocked and retorted, “But you’re in honors chemistry! All you do is worksheets? Really?” So I called the chemistry teacher, who informed me, “Yes, all we do is worksheets. You just don’t understand; you’re not a teacher!” Right then and there I said to myself, “No I am not, but I can fix that!”

So I decided to go back to college in 1992 after my only child graduated from high school.

I attended what was then Valencia Community College, graduating with honors in the spring of 1994. In the fall of 1994 I started at the University of Central Florida and was inducted into the Omicron Lambda Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi.

Becoming a member of KDP truly changed my life in ways I could never have imagined and has helped me to become a better person and a better educator.

My association with Dr. Marcella Kysilka, a former International President of KDP and the Omicron Lambda Chapter Counselor, continued to fuel and grow my knowledge of pedagogy and my passion for teaching. Upon graduating cum laude in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education, I obtained my temporary teaching certificate. After interviewing at three different high schools in my area, I was called by all of them offering me a teaching position.

I could have taught at any of the three schools. Yet I thoughtfully chose to teach at the inner-city school. Believing in the mission of KDP and the vision “Quality Learning for All” drove me to do everything within my power to inspire and motivate my students and to help them to learn and grow as individuals.

I used dice to teach probability. Kids showed up to my class that had never come before because they wanted to learn about dice. That’s OK. They also learned about probability and working with percentages and fractions along the way.

My students were project engineers for a few days, having to create boomerangs from cardboard after examining various sample models. They determined the slopes of the flanges and then created and decorated their boomerangs, which I called “sloperangs.” The looks on their faces when we went outside and tried out their prototypes were priceless. The sloperangs really worked!

We made the rate × time = distance formula come to life by measuring off fixed distances in front of the school and running “speed traps”—timing the cars as they passed. Then we went back inside and did the calculations to determine how fast the cars were going in miles per hour.

Was it an easy group of students to teach? No.

Were the challenges with teaching these students small? No.

Was it worth it? YES!

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to be their teacher, and I am grateful for being part of KDP.

My membership in KDP inspired me then and continues to ignite my passion as an educator.

Please consider a gift to Kappa Delta Pi today to celebrate the 106th year since our founding on March 8, 1911. Gifts of $19.11 or more are being matched thanks to the generosity of our Former Presidents. Donate now.

Dr. Peggy Moch is a full professor at Valdosta State University where she teachers Mathematics courses and serves as the Alpha Beta Kappa Chapter Counselor.

International Women’s Day

Emily Zoss is the managing editor of The Educational Forum, published by Kappa Delta Pi.

Letter from PDK to KDP on the rejection of the merger petition, March 5, 1912.

Letter from PDK to KDP on the rejection of the merger petition, March 5, 1912.

International Women’s Day is on March 8. The fact that it overlaps with the anniversary of Kappa Delta Pi’s founding is a lovely coincidence, as women’s equality was a significant concern in the early days of the organization’s history.

During the period immediately before and after the establishment of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) on the campus of the University of Illinois in 1911, members investigated affiliating with the fraternity that came to be known as Phi Delta Kappa (PDK). The two groups had similar aims and ideals, but with a major exception: KDP allowed women to join, and PDK did not.

A key turning point came in March 1912, when KDP’s final petition for a merger with PDK was roundly rejected. Displayed in the entry of our headquarters in Indianapolis is a letter that Julian Butterworth of PDK sent to Claude E. Burgener of KDP on the occasion. A memorable passage reads as follows:

There was a very strong sentiment that we should like to have Illinois [KDP] join us. However, I may say, Mr. Burgener, that I am certain that there will never be an opportunity to secure the admission of women. We believe that a real honor fraternity in Education must, from the very nature of our profession, be confined to men. Women do not enter the work to make a profession of it, and they ought not. Their work lies elsewhere.

I most sincerely hope that the time is not far distant when our societies can see alike on this point.

Although both groups today welcome a broad membership, we’re proud of our inclusive heritage.

There’s still work to be done on a host of other issues throughout the world related to gender equity, but on March 8, consider taking a moment to honor the commitment of KDP’s founders to women’s equality in the profession of education.

Kappa Delta Pi’s Work is Not Done

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communications at Kappa Delta Pi.

Dr. Frank Marsh

Dr. Frank Marsh

Last week, I called up one of KDP’s longest-standing members, Dr. Frank Marsh, to talk about his work with the Society. Dr. Marsh is a Lifetime member; he initiated in 1949 at the University of New Hampshire.

He’s served as president of the Society, organized two Convocations, edited The KDP Record, and helped found the Kappa Delta Pi Foundation, which is now our department of advancement.

I spoke to Dr. Marsh for an hour, but among the most important messages I received from him was his feeling of responsibility in giving back to KDP. In fact, he said that no matter how much he’s given to KDP, he’s received that much back and more. His desire to pay it forward to future educators is commendable. Check out this short clip from our conversation on why he financially supports the Society.

During the month of March, we celebrate Founders Day (March 8, 1911) and our founders all month long with $19.11 contributions to the Founders Fund.

At headquarters, I’m proud to say that nearly every staff member contributes annually. Why? Because, like Dr. Marsh, we see and hear directly how important these funds are to the members who receive them—members with the new ideas to which he referred.

Won’t you join us? No donation is too small. Support KDP’s mission with a donation to the Founders Fund today!

Got a Minute? Week of March 2, 2015

Got a minute for KDP? See what’s going on at headquarters in a one-minute(ish) video.

This week:

Celebrate Founders Day—Snap a Photo!

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communications at Kappa Delta Pi.

Founders cake

Serving a sweet cake at your celebration? Share it with us!

Kappa Delta Pi will be 104 years old on March 8. How do you plan to celebrate? Whether you wear your KDP pin or have a chapter celebration (you can find resources to plan your celebration on the KDP website), we hope you’ll do something to commemorate our founding AND we hope you take a moment to snap a photo.

Why? Because it’s time for our first Founders Day photo contest! Eligible participants include any paid, current member of the Society OR a chapter of paid, current members of the Society. Winners cannot have a lapsed membership status.

Founders photo

Honor our founders–recreate a photo of the first initiates!

The contest runs through noon on March 13, after which a winner (and prizes) will be selected by KDP staff and announced via social media.

Here’s how you can enter the contest:

  • Post photos to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #KDPFounders AND/OR
  • Email photos to marketing@kdp.org
  • Include a few sentences about the photos
  • Watch for the winner announcement on March 14
Katie with archives

Have a piece of our history in your chapter archives? Bring it out for Founders Day! And snap a photo, of course.

In the meantime, check out all of the submissions in our Facebook album. Good luck!

By submitting a photo, you grant Kappa Delta Pi permission to use your likeness, and the likeness of the other parties, in a photograph in any and all of its publications, including website entries, without payment or any other consideration.

One thing is certain: they would be proud

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communication at Kappa Delta Pi.

Founders--Alpha chapterThis Saturday, March 8, Kappa Delta Pi celebrates 103 remarkable years.

Founders Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on the rich legacy of the Society. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come over the past century. From the first meeting of the Education Club at the YMCA on University of Illinois campus, in which 18 members (nine men and nine women) were asked to join, to today in which our initiated membership totals more than 1 million. One thing is certain: William Chandler Bagley, Thomas E. Musselman, and Truman L. Kelley would be very proud.

We hope that your chapter is planning to celebrate Founders Day this year. Did you know that the Society has resources that can help? The Founders Day guide is available on the site to assist with your planning. And, we have a press release template that can help you get the word out about your event to the campus community and local media.

We also want to know what Founders Day means to you via social media. Use hashtag #KDPFounders on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share stories, thoughts, and photos of your KDP Founders Day experience.

Finally, we want you to share your photos with us—past and present! Email Founders Day photos to marketing[at]kdp.org. Your photo could be featured on social media, the website, or in an upcoming marketing piece*.

Is your chapter planning to do anything to celebrate the big day? Let us know!

* Note that sending these photos constitutes an agreement by the sender and the chapter members featured in the photos regarding use and distribution of the photos both now and in the future.