About Us

The Beast is a conversation about learning for the critical thinking educator, the open-minded leader, and the curious.  If you are ready to quit your job as knower, then you will feel right at home here.  You will be inspired to think about what it really means to learn with big ears and guts out.  We are asking questions, seeking feedback, and pursuing your perspective. Comment, tweet, and join the conversation.  We gotta figure this out.  It’s a beast.

Kelly MacKay & Andrea Kerr
The Beast is co-authored by you, Kelly MacKay, and Andrea Kerr. Learn more about us below and as we grow.

I (Kelly) have lived at the front of the classroom literally and figuratively for 25 years. I can run the show from there.  It does not matter how hard the students are, the subject matter or how old they are.  I relate, I redirect, I am funny, I can tell a great story and I create relationships very quickly – all from the front of the room.  That is my job – control the room.  If they are managed they can learn because I have engaged them and voila – no one is in the office and stuff is handed in.  How do I get a do over, a restart, a complete wipe?  This is blog is my only option.  It’s the only way I can make sense of what I did for 25 years versus the beast I am now faced with for the last leg of my career.  I can’t unsee it…it is beside me at all times.  Andrea and I can sit in a basement for days…she and I are not the same, in fact we are not even close.  We are defined as unlikely.  I have had to learn to listen…deeply and go away and come back and listen some more.  She makes me.  She doesn’t insist, she merely waits.  I am a very bad waiter.  I am getting better. If I really want to hear I have to wait. We have gotten to backsy forthsy with practice.  Our thinking is how we do business now.  We plan for it, look forward to it and push it and pull it and prod it.  It is the beast.  Andrea sketches, she listens and she asks.  I have stopped drawing conclusions.  What I know changes every day…it is a relief.  Andrea has a depth of understanding about learning that I may never actually see the bottom of – she lets me see in pretty far.  She understands I have to find it for myself. I hold myself accountable most days to learning and not knowing.  You are going to hold me accountable, call me out and ask me the hard questions I should have been asking myself for 25 years.  Welcome to the conversation.

I (Andrea) am an introvert. I think hard, reflect often, and re-energize within my coveted alone time. I teach to learn in the realm of Education.  In my 21 years, my realm has expanded from teaching to Curriculum and back again.  Now as Vice Principal, I’ve started intentionally bump into things that make me rethink and change my mind, like wandering through a museum or art gallery.  Books, questions, people, perspectives… and of course Kelly MacKay who absorbs the world in vivid colour and at lightning speed. The universe has aligned and we are here beside one another. Kelly has taught me that learners learn for each other, for humanity and for the humans – little kinder to gangly teenager.  Which brings me to my other beastly blogging dedication – my daughter. She was 4 when she created the logo for the Beast. She is now 7 and in her realm I watch her construct meaning and develop theories from multiple angles and from diverse contexts.  When ideas converge during her commentaries on the world, it blows my mind.  This is that sketchnote.  Thank you for being a part of it.