Kevin Hughes

Technology Teacher

Kevin Hughes  

Education: Wheaton College

Born and raised: Detroit, Michigan

Position and Start Year at IAMS: Technology Teacher, 2012

Why are you in education? I believe that education can be a huge influence on the course of someone's life. I mean, my education continues to have a huge influence on the course of my life. On a simpler level, I'm good at explaining things and I like kids; teaching is a very natural thing for me.

What are your hobbies and interests? In college, I was on the hockey team and the rowing team. I still play pick-up hockey when I can. In warmer months, I row at the Lincoln Park Boat Club. Also, I'm a huge Detroit sports fan—especially the Red Wings because I come from a hockey family. Other than sports, I am an art aficionado. I go to the Art Institute of Chicago almost weekly and have a lot of friends in the art scene.

What was the last good book you read? I'm a big reader. On my daily train ride to school, I read the Red Eye and Hoy newspapers. In English, I read mostly philosophy and classic novels. I recently finished Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. In Spanish, I tend to read biographies and poetry. For example, I love Gabriela Mistral's La Maestra Rural and Pensamientos Pedagógicos. 

Where did you learn Spanish/English? Even though I come from an English-only household, my parents instilled within me a high value for other languages. By the time I finished 8th grade, I had taken introductory classes of French, German, and Spanish. Spanish is what I enjoyed the most and also seemed the most useful, so I studied it all through high school. For my Community Development major in college, you had to do an internship in a developing country. I did my seven-month internship with Food for the Hungry in Nicaragua. During this time, I lived with a Nicaraguan family and learned to love the Nicaraguan lifestyle. Since I am not a native speaker, I have to put extra effort into developing my Spanish. Rather than hiding this from students, I try to model what it looks like to learn a second language for students in my classroom.

What profession, other than education, could you also see yourself doing? I would love to get into coaching IAMS sports next year. Coaching gives you access to kids' lives that you don't have access to in the classroom. For example, you can help students learn the value of hard work by working hard late in games to achieve the team goal of winning each game. 

What are the traits you admire most in others? Authenticity. 

What are your guiding principles? To quote C.S. Lewis, "The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs." I have found that life is too dynamic and complex to navigate it with merely one mantra or guiding principle. My most commonly used disciplinary phrase is "the right thing and the right time." I think so much of being a good, loving, successful person is being able to recognize what each situation requires and to respond accordingly.

What is the main challenge of teaching/working in a dual-language school? I think teaching technology in a bilingual setting presents a unique set of challenges—especially since most technological terms are in English.  

 Who has been the largest influence on your life? As you can probably infer from my answers, I am a very philosophical and analytical person. When I was 17, I began researching every religious or philosophical worldview so that I could figure out what I think for myself. Through this personal journey, I was intellectually satisfied and emotionally comforted by Christ. It seems counterintuitive that the person who has been the largest influence on my life would be a Middle Eastern man who lived 2000 years ago and who spoke three languages that I do not speak (Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew.) However, I would not be the man I am today without Christ in my life each and every day.

What do you believe your main role is as a technology teacher? Although students focus on bilingual literacy, academic content, social skills and more, I would like to focus on the aspects of my role that are unique to teaching technology. Technological literacy is a hot topic for discussion in the educational world right now. My philosophy of teaching technological literacy is exposing students to as many different programs and technologies as possible. Rather than teaching students how to use a few popular programs, I want students to be able to figure out how to use any piece of technology. I see my main role as a technology teacher to ensure that every student graduates from Inter-American with a college-level technological literacy. That way, they are ahead of the curve when they get to high school, and they are capable of figuring out how to use whatever technology comes along next.

What attracted you to a dual-language program? Research on bilingual education, such as the work of Collier & Thomas, indicates that dual-language programs are the most effective form of bilingual education. In my mind, educational decisions are no different than medical decisions. When you go to the hospital, you want research-proven and doctor-approved treatments. Why then does our society settle for educational policies and pedagogical decisions that are neither research-based nor teacher-approved? I recognize that the answer to this question is philosophical, political, and very complex. Instead of trying to answer that question, I will simply say that I love being a part of the IAMS community and the bilingual, bicultural mission that we share.

What do you think is the greatest benefit of being bilingual? There are so many professional and intellectual benefits of bilingualism. At the end of the day though, loving other people is more important to me than having a job or reading good poetry. Even if it sounds simplistic, for me, the greatest benefit of being bilingual is that I can communicate with more people and make more friends.


Last updated 3-3-13