Michael is currently the District Technology Integrator/Teacher Leader for the Lake Shore Central School District in Angola, New York where he is in his 5th year in this role. He spent 10 years as a Mathematics Teacher and a majority of those as Team Leader at Lake Shore Middle School. Michael serves on the Lake Shore District Technology Committee and Mentor Teacher Committee and also Western New York Technology Integrators’ Forum Advisory Panel. He’s a Level 1 & 2 Google Certified Educator, Microsoft Innovative Certified Educator and Trainer, 2016 Apple Teacher with Swift Playgrounds. In 2016, Michael was recognized with the NYSCATE Lee Bryant Outstanding Teacher Award. In 2018, he was selected as a Minecraft Education Global Mentor. Michael and is an active educator/learning ambassador for Bloxels Edu, BrainPOP, Buncee, CoSpaces, CueThink, Flipgrid, GoBubble, Seesaw, and Wakelet. Michael is also Sutori Storyteller and a member of the educator focus group for Belouga seeking ways to bring emotional equity through global collaboration to our classrooms.
Michael is involved in many aspects of education. He reviewed educational publications for Corwin Press. He wrote the foreword for the book The Journey to the “Y” in You by Dene E. Gainey and is a contributing author to DigCitKids by Dr. Marialice Curran and Curran Dee from EduMatch Publishing. Recently Michael’s joined a community of educators serving as associates for the Digital Citizenship Institute to help promote Digital Citizenship and Leadership. Michael co-hosted an educational podcast called Quest for Edlightenment and is a proud member of the Our Global Classroom team. Michael’s latest adventure involves being part of the Innovation Lab Schools team serving as a US Ambassador bringing the Sustainable Development Goals to more classrooms and helping bring educational access to others around the world.
Michael prepared for the show by listening to the playlists of some of the previous guests on The Personal Playlist Podcast. “I saw so many familiar names… it was an amazing way to really get to know them better. There are some people I’ve even had conversations with, face to face, then to go back and hear their story and to hear their song selections, it was phenomenal.” Michael refers to himself as a music geek, and he enjoys listening to music while he is doing many things including the dishes. He is a huge music fan and loves going to concerts. Getting ready for his P3 got him listening to and thinking about a lot of different songs. “It was a chance to look back at a lot of the music I enjoy and to just think deeper about it…”
Michael's Ignite from Connect 2019 is from 22:25- 27:58
When Michael was thinking about his nostalgic song, he was leaning towards his all time favourite band, The Tragically Hip. He grew up with the band, heard their music in the locker room before and after hockey games, been to almost 30 of their concerts and even got to meet them on a few different occasions. Michael even presented an Ignite at Connect called How the Tragically Hip and Gord Downie Make Me a Better Educator. He told an incredible story about getting tickets on Craigslist for one of The Hip’s final shows. He and his brother drove to Burlington and hopped on the Go Train to Toronto. When they arrived at the then Air Canada Centre (ACC) for what would be their last show, the ticket scanner beeped with an ominous sound and the appearance of a big x left them thinking they had fake tickets. Instead, they were transported into the ACC and given seats in a box because those were tickets that weren't meant to be sold. Michael and his brother enjoyed the last Hip show with unlimited food and drink, the company of some NHL players, and a few friends of the band who had watched the band grow from humble beginnings. “It was the best they ever sounded.”
Michael found a song that he referred to as “the perfect summation of everything I experienced listening to The Tragically Hip.” When he hears this song, the memories of The Hip and of their lead singer, Gord Downie, come flooding back. He thought this song written in tribute of the late Gord Downie, by a band that he grew up listening to, was perfect for the nostalgic category. Here is Ballad of a Poet by Our Lady Peace.
The identity song is one that can be difficult for some to determine how to best encapsulate their sense of self. Michael knew right away when this song stuck out for him. He chose it because he loves this artist and also because he loves his home. “There's something about home... I was born and raised in Western New York, and I’ve lived here all my life. A lot of my friends have moved out of the area, but there is something about family, friends…” For Michael, the lyrics and Dallas Green's voice, especially live, compelled this song choice. “There is nothing like being back at home.” The identity song, for Michael is everything about home. Here is City and Colour with Comin Home:
Michael’s pick-me-up song is one from a band that he really loves. “I can listen to any Arkell’s song, and it can pick me up…Whether at a live show or in an acoustic version of their songs...it’s one of my favourite bands.” He explained that catchy feel to the song and how it immediately grabs him. He’s seen the band in stadiums and in smaller venues like the recent record store visit that he describes as having 50-100 people packed in. He put his 5 year old son on his shoulders, and the intimate experience was captured here by someone and here by Michael. Arkells are a Canadian rock band, formed in Hamilton, Ontario. The band is named after Arkell Street in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton near McMaster University. This is Relentless by The Arkells:
It was towards the end of our recording that Michael realized that all three songs on his playlist were from Canadian artists. “I’ve always been a fan of Canadian music.” He went on to list quite a few other bands and singers adding, “I don't know what it is about Canada, but they really churn out some great bands.”
Michael loves to connect music back to teaching. If you want to connect with Michael, you can find him on Twitter at @m_drez. He also blogs on his website, michaeldrezek.com. His Quest for EdLightenment podcast was something he tried and hopes to return to. You can check it out on Anchor and iTunes.