He leads the Model UN Club and has led several Outreach trips, including the March 2018 trip to India. Geoff joined Crescent in 2010.
When did your teaching career begin?
My teaching career began 18 years ago (18? Has it really been that long already?). In fact, teaching was my second career. I started my career as an environmental chemist. I later worked as a site supervisor on environmental remediation projects and eventually transitioned as an environmental consultant here in Toronto
What motivated you to become a teacher?
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, I do believe that teaching is something that calls you. However, after spending my formative years in school, the thought of working in one was the farthest thing from my mind. Upon graduating university, I needed to experience life outside of school but the idea of becoming a teacher was always rolling around in the back of my head. I suppose we are attracted to professions as a result of experiences we had when we were young. For me, I really struggled in school. In my era, the academics were not the challenge; I struggled socially. I never felt a belonging or identity within the school environment, so much so that it led me to quit at a young age (which led to the stark realization that that path wasn't heading anywhere promising!). But those experiences helped shape my approach in the classroom.
Academic results are but one area in the development of a young person. Building confidence, understanding the beauty of failure, developing resilience, social skills and a compassionate nature, finding personal meaning in learning and developing an intrinsic curiosity – these are some of the things that build a healthy and fulfilled individual. When we help put these blocks into place, we are nurturing a generation of good people, ones who are, as the ultimate goal, better adjusted and more capable than ourselves.
What is your philosophy of education and how do you apply it in school?
My philosophy is to nurture those attributes a young person needs to easily adapt to a rapidly changing world (and not only adapt, but help direct the course of change). I believe that the goal of education is to create possibilities for a student to invent and discover, think critically about issues affecting his life and assist him in understanding the context of his own experiences.
In which teaching and learning initiative are you involved?
I have designed a new course at Crescent, Environment and Resource Management, for Upper School students. The course is intended to create a greater awareness of the natural environment and how we view the natural world. This year (2017/2018) is the first run, so to speak, of the course. As part of the course's activities, we plan to have the students work with, educate and empower their younger brothers in the school on a variety of environmental issues.
How will the students at Crescent benefit from this course?
I know I'm biased when I say that I firmly believe that every Crescent student should take this course. There is urgency needed to address the environmental issues we face in the world today, but it comes with opportunity. I believe strongly that humankind, especially the generations to follow, is immensely capable and can solve even our most pressing issues. The key is a commitment to do so and cooperation. Solutions are going to require a cultural shift, but I think there are great opportunities for students in addressing these issues; opportunities for a career path that can be rewarding financially, socially and emotionally.
The mindset I hope to change is that we assess nature and natural systems for its utility to humans, giving it an economic value, but have forgotten the intrinsic value of nature in supporting life. We are also not seeing nature as a complex system; a system in which change in any one area affects it as a whole, and may compromise its ability to perform vital functions, for example, produce oxygen.
How has your involvement in this program affected your experience at Crescent?
I am excited by the prospect of helping to place environmental issues into a more central position in the curriculum. I think it is fundamental that our students leave with a solid understanding of the state of the natural systems in our world and feel empowered that they can help improve it.
Describe some of your interests outside of Crescent.
Hah - I think many of my interests have been put into a slow burn once I had children! I am the father of two young boys and blessedly married to a wonderful women. I'm quite content living a quiet life, in fact, I prefer it that way. I enjoy reading and music (though I lack any talent in that area), and running (which I do really to avoid feeling guilty about ingesting life's guilty pleasures). As a family we enjoy camping, canoeing and hiking.