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24 Oct 2017

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A journey of making learning awesome in times of illness

30 year veteran of education shares a heartwarming story of how Kahoot! helped her keep a connection with her students as she was undergoing cancer treatment.

We met Nancy Foote, a math and science teacher from Arizona, at a conference earlier this year. She is a true rock star of education with a track record of making learning awesome for 30 years! Amazing!

We had a great chat about playing Kahoot! in science classes, but there was an exceptional chapter in Nancy’s story that really touched our hearts and made us so proud that Kahoot! was part of it. Nancy agreed to write a blog and share how Kahoot! helped her stay connected with her students while she was undergoing cancer treatment.


Nancy Foote and Kahoot!'s Daniella at ISTE 2017

Nancy Foote and Kahoot!’s Daniella at ISTE 2017

I’ve been a teacher for 30 years. I love it more and more. It feeds my soul and fills me with joy. Imagine that your doctor tells you that if you want to live, you have to give up something that you love. You won’t have to give it up forever, but you’ll have to give it up for the next 6 months. You’ll have to abandon those you promised to help.

I was devastated by my bilateral breast cancer diagnosis, and knowing that I had to give up my teaching, my classes, my kids for any length of time was completely crushing. I am proud of my relationships with my students. Whether they are excited, joy-filled, struggling with the content, confused – I enjoy sharing all those moments with them. But I need to be in class to do that.

Knowing that I needed to be away more than 80% of the time hurt me. It wasn’t good for my recovery either, since physical healing is greatly influenced by mental health. Then I realized I could bring excitement and joy back to my kids. I might not be able to do it every day, but once a week or so I could.

Through Kahoot! I began to incorporate games into my weekly sub lessons. I could see the increase in students’ grades when they used Kahoot! When they messaged me, I regularly got comments about how they could “hear” me in the Kahoot! questions.

Kahoot! allowed me to regain a bit of my teaching personality.

Nancy Foote, science and math rock star teacher

I found that if the sub was struggling with classroom behavior or inattentive students, I could put a “surprise Kahoot!” in the middle of a lesson and the kids would settle down. I was able to emotionally entangle them in the content without physically being present. I was at the hospital getting treatment for cancer one day and I received a message from one of my students:

“I am thinking about you and hoping you are getting well. I miss you so much. I’m glad we can still do Kahoot! It makes me feel like you aren’t quite so far away. Thanks for loving us Mrs. Foote, and not forgetting us.”

Nancy, thank you for sharing your powerful, inspiring and heartfelt story with our community! You’re a real rock star of education!