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Ben is a recipant of the Prime Minster’s Award For Teaching Excellence in STEM, a leader in sharing & organizing professional development opportunities for teachers, named Apple Distinguished Educator Advisory Board Member for the Americas, Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow, New Brunswick STEM Educator of the Year Award and an NB Innovator for his work with Minecraft Education. He is also the provincial leader in creating and piloting STEM and digital citizenship education resources, and was part of teams that created the New Brunswick’s STEM curriculum for grades six to ten. Most recently, Ben inspired youth accross Atlantic Canada during the COVID-19 lockdown as he worked with Brilliatn Labs to bring teamwork, connection, and innovation into homes through Minecraft.

TAKE 5

Take 5 is a regular feature of Brilliant Labs Magazine that focuses on a teacher that has been inspiring, innovative and has shown entrepreneurial spirit. In this issue, Digtial Hope, we are proud to interview Mr. Ben Kelly, teacher of sixteen years and is currently teaching at Caledonia Regional High School, Hillsborough, New Brunswick.

We are pleased to share Ben’s passion for education and welcome you to join us as we talk candidly about his journey and Take 5 inspiration tips for educators & community. Why did you become a teacher? Every teacher I had ever met seemed like a happy person. Sure they had personality quirks here and there, but genuinely, beneath it all, they seemed to be happy people. I wanted that. I don’t think you can or should be a teacher without at least an underlying optimism and happiness.

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Finding balance. Teaching is a 24/7 job if your let it be. Set realistic goals and be kind to yourself at home by making healthy choices. The legendary Canadian comedian John Candy once said “The finest line a man/woman will walk is the one between success at work and success at home.”

In your lifetime has anyone inspired you to change your mind, for the better, to overcome an obstacle? Watching my son grow up has inspired me to prioritize my health in the way I’ve prioritized my career for decades. As I now search for balance it wouldn’t shock me if I swing further the other way, normalizing professionally until I reach my ideal health goals. The legendary Canadian comedian John Candy once said “The finest line a man/woman will walk is the one between success at work and success at home.” My health is part of my success at home and I’m going to try living on that side of the line for a while. Teaching is a 24/7 job if you let it be, which I have for a long long time.

What is the most memorable moment as a teacher? Throwing student-made Mars Landers, made from common cheap crafts, off of the highest roof of the school, in any weather. Grade 6 students below shriek with glee and run to discover if their precious egg cargo has survived planet entry. That was, and is the highlight of my years. It’s witnessing pure joy in making and learning. Other accomplishments line my walls but this one makes me smile every single time I reflect on it. The project is an exemplar for future-ready learning. 10

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