Johnson-Brock Teacher Proves to be Multi-tasking Extraordinaire
Johnson-Brock’s Head Volleyball coach, Tera Stutheit looks up in the stands during a big home game match up for her team. To the spectators, it may just look like a coach probably taking in some special moments. Moments Stutheit takes in a lot: A great team, great coaching staff, supportive school and community, successful season; so successful in fact, her team went on to win the Class D-1 State title this year. What she is checking in the stands, however, is probably not what meets the eye this time; this time, she looks up to make sure her Broadcasting class and Striv students are taking care of business on their end as well with streaming the game. Stutheit exemplifies something special; she doesn’t ever stop teaching to coach; and doesn’t stop coaching to teach. We got to talk with Tera Stutheit for our feature this week and get a glimpse of this multitasking teacher/coach who never seems to run out of ideas for the classroom or the court.
Stutheit has been teaching at Johnson-Brock for the last 14 years. She teaches High School English, Reading and has adapted into a Broadcasting class that was developed three years ago. This class was formed when Stutheit realized the school and students had grown out of the Business Communication class that was teaching somewhat outdated things such as ‘how to take a phone message’ from a definitely outdated textbook. She did not want things to get stagnant for students and lose their interest. With this in mind and with a couple of students, Stutheit was proactive and dug up some ‘old equipment’ the school had and created a news show. It didn’t take her long to see the spark; the ideas and excitement that stemmed from the interviews, the writing, the speaking and listening skills that were being taught. Stutheit had an ‘eye-opening’ experience from this. She said, “Now here is a different and unique way to meet curriculum expectations.”
This ‘aha’ moment, coupled with the few times the school had tried a free streaming service to live stream games, cause Stutheit, once again, to begin searching. The school saw the down side to the free service when they had ‘a few ads that were inappropriate for really any audience’ play during their streamed events. That’s when she discovered Striv and how much better it could be for them and what she was looking to accomplish in sharing the school’s story, for her classroom and for the students, community and beyond.
She began revitalizing her class into a fine-tuned, media and broadcasting learning experience for the students. However, the school has to meet criteria and standards to evolve the outdated class into something really cutting edge for the students. “When you change the name of a class, it has to fit somewhere; it’s kind of a big deal.” Stutheit didn’t shy away from the challenge, though. She has a Masters in Instructional Technology and was able to use that to her advantage as she began to envision a future for this class. She also knows the Language Arts standards and how they continue to evolve and realized that there are several standards that are easily being met through the broadcast class. She said, “fitting it into the English curriculum was pretty easy.” She noted that it is fun to see how things like public speaking come into play a ton, whether or not the kids realize they are presenting a ‘speech.’
“It’s a little scary for principals to understand what is going to happen in this class.”
She didn’t waste any time in searching resources to get funding for some really great equipment beyond the little the school already had. “Our Superintendent gave great support on contracting with Striv, and I began looking into grants to get funding for more equipment.”
With the growing motivation of the ‘success and growth of the students’, Stutheit, with the support from the administration and community, reached out to the Johnson-Brock Foundation. Teachers can apply for funding from the Foundation and she says she has never been turned away empty handed. “The Foundation is very much in support of the program. They love the live stream and they love that it benefits the community.”
Stutheit also looked into a grant from the Nemaha County Development Foundation, where ‘they don’t see these types of applications often and how it is so good for the students.’ She states that it is never too difficult to apply and receive a grant. She has also witnessed some pretty cool donations such as a ‘hot spot’ to pick up internet at the football field to live stream the games there. This donation came from US Cellular and a football parent who works there.
The grants have allowed Johnson-Brock and the Broadcasting class to purchase two new MacBooks, two desktop iMacs, cameras and some audio equipment which includes a soundboard, microphones and headphones. She is working to provide a great educational experience for the students while also providing for the community and beyond to help create a great environment to share the J-B Eagle’s story. They even made the decision to go ‘all-in’ and went ahead with commentating games. “It’s really hard, but from a teacher’s perspective, it is such a great thing.” Stutheit even has a son that commentates girls’ games before he has to get to the locker room, himself, to prepare for his own game that follows.
Back in the classroom, Stutheit also has adapted to the students as a group and individually, understanding they all have different interests and talents. Her class is a progressive one that lets the students create. She lets them really find their niche while making sure they try every aspect of the class at least once. The students have the opportunity to find what they want to specialize in as there are a lot of different areas in broadcasting.
So as Tera Stutheit sighed a breath of ease to see her Broadcasters, which does include her son, doing their job in the stands and then looks at her volleyball team, which does include her daughter, getting the job done on the court; she had to feel a sense of accomplishment in the fact that, she too, is getting the job(s) done.
Interested in learning more about how your school can share their story with Striv? Go here.
Written by Jessica Siebert (StrivU Director)