I guess I had teaching in my blood: my parents were teachers and I volunteered and worked at several summer camps and outdoor centres, including the Ontario Science Centre and the Toronto Zoo. While I was working at the Toronto Zoo, a principal with the Toronto District School Board suggested that I go to teachers’ college as she thought I would make a great classroom teacher.
Describe a significant experience in your career.
I remember a particular student, I’ll call him Tristan, who participated in a program that I ran at the Toronto Zoo. This program gave students at risk of dropping out of school the opportunity to do hands-on activities at the zoo with me, with the hope of challenging them to work harder once they returned to school. Tristan arrived at the zoo, looking very dapper, refusing to walk fast or touch anything. I did not let his attitude intimidate me and by the end of the week he was right in there, touching the animals, asking questions and posing for pictures with zookeepers. The students in the program were asked to create a presentation for their classmates. I could hardly believe it when Tristan was the only student who had anything prepared. His teachers and the school principal later wrote me to let me know that they had “a new Tristan” in school, one who was pursuing reading and was interested in finishing school on his way to the NBA. Tristan sent me a thank-you card, telling me that no one took the time to make him feel special before – no one cared. I take that message with me always: Every child needs to know you care. Caring demands so little from us and can have a very profound effect on our students.
What is your philosophy of education?
Every child deserves the opportunity to learn. Every child has the ability to learn; as teachers, we just need to figure out how. Also, learning should be creative, fun and engaging in all subject areas.
Teaching career began in 2003; joined Crescent School faculty in 2005
Presented at National Middle School Association Conference in Indianapolis, 2009
Presented at Brock University, 2010 and 2011
Presented at IBSC Conference, 2008 and 2016
Continues to work two weekends a year in the outdoor education program at the Toronto Region Conservation Authority
Co-curricular activities at Crescent include organizing the Middle School’s “Wisdom Wednesday” program, and supervising Crescent’s initiative with Right To Play