Dedication is a word that gets used frequently when describing Microsoft IT Academy teachers and their students. This week’s post is brought to us by W. Lynn Fedor, Microsoft IT Academy Instructor and Business Law Facilitator at Northeast Guilford High School in McLeansville, North Carolina.  We hope you enjoy reading Lynn's insight and passion about the benefits Microsoft Certifications have on a student's future. 

W. Lynn Fedor - Microsoft IT Academy Instructor & 
Business Law Facilitator, Northeast Guilford High School

When I accepted the challenge to pilot the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification program for our school district it was two days before the students were set to arrive.  I had been teaching for seventeen years and I was sure I could handle the challenge without a problem.  I thought it would be fun since I knew all about writing letters, memorandums and other Microsoft Office documents.  How hard could it be?

It turns out, taking the certification exam was a challenge. The first time I took the Microsoft Word certification exam I felt I could bold and double-space but not much else. During the first year, three students obtained certification in spite of my feeble efforts.

My colleagues rallied around me and taught me the Microsoft Word ribbon and what was behind each menu option. I would not give up and neither would my colleagues and I now help other teachers in the district earn their certifications.

Out of seventy students this semester, all but six earned the Microsoft Word certification, and every single one earned the Microsoft PowerPoint certification!  I am so proud of my students and the investment they have made in their learning.

As an educator I am convinced that in our economic times every student should achieve a certification prior to leaving high school.  We cannot afford to allow these students to leave our academic environment without the tools necessary to open the doors to the 21st century working environment.  Most of my students this semester were freshmen and I know that once they achieve the coveted Microsoft Office Specialist certification, they’ll gain confidence, be invested in the academic process and will not become dropouts. 

IT Academy students at Northeast Guilford High School

I frame every MOS certificate and our Principal attends the presentation of certificates.  I have a wall of “GREAT EXPECTATIONS” that bears every student’s certification and their name.  My students bring their parents to see their names on the wall.  For many students, this achievement becomes their identification and their opportunity for success in an academic environment.

I think what gives me the biggest thrill is to see a student who has never experienced success in the classroom come to life when they achieve certification. 

I thoroughly enjoy watching my students tutor a classmate or come early in the morning or stay late in the afternoon so they can learn page formatting one more time!

Northeast Guilford is an economically impacted school and MOS certification offers hope to many of the students. I am very grateful that I went out of my comfort zone and embraced Microsoft Office Specialist.

Read other posts from the Teacher's Perspective series: