Sean teaches Grade 12 Philosophy, Grade 12 Challenge and Change, Grade 11 Law and Grade 10 Canadian Civics. He coaches the Junior Crescent Hockey team and the Upper School Baseball team. Sean is a member of Crescent’s Diversity Professional Learning Community (PLC).
Sean joined Crescent in September 2016. He holds a BA in criminology and philosophy and earned his B.Ed. at York University.
When did your teaching career begin? My first teaching job was in a small English city in North East Lincolnshire called Grimsby. I went there right after I received my B.Ed.
What motivated you to become a teacher? This will sound really clichéd. I had done a collection of jobs that I thought would be the best for me financially and socially, but gave me no intrinsic or lasting fulfillment. I wasn't happy. Teaching is what I loved. I loved learning and passing my learning onto others. It was a small moment, but I had a taught a goalie this technique that I had learned from my previous goalie coach, and he used it in a game. This made me really, really happy.
What is your philosophy of education and how do you apply it in school? I believe that the most beneficial moments in the classroom come from the ability to apply what is being learned into everyday situations. Particularly for some of the more obscure moments in the Philosophy or Challenge & Change courses, showing the utility and practicality of a theory can be tricky. Pop culture is a great medium for this. I love using music, movies, and TV shows to shed light on a topic that can be a bit more complex or complicated. I'm hopeful that this focus helps create connections for students. It also shows them that their teacher is not so far removed from the world that they are living in.
In which teaching and learning initiative/program are you involved? Perhaps the thing I'm most proud of since joining Crescent is being part of our Diversity Professional Learning Community. Members of this PLC share a passion for inclusivity amongst staff, students, and the broader Crescent Community. Thanks in part to this amazing initiative, I have been able to have fruitful discussions with people who want to address problems of race, gender, religion, culture and socio-economics that are present in our everyday lives. I have had the privilege of attending conferences and participating in talks that are largely invested in helping those who feel discriminated against or who feel that they are being treated differently relative to their peers.
In November 2017, a few Crescent students and I went to the NAIS People of Color Conference [link: https://pocc.nais.org/] in Anaheim, an experience that was truly game changing. The stories shared at this event were so similar to my experiences as a student of colour and now as a teacher. It helped everyone at the conference realize they were not alone and that there are people who feel like they do. Thanks in part to our Diversity PLC, students are showing more vulnerability to discuss topics about race and culture that are relevant in their current lives.
How have the students at Crescent benefited from this initiative? I hope that the momentum created by the Diversity PLC will continue. In February, we celebrated Black History Month, a month-long celebration of Black history and culture. Conversations are taking place that were not there prior to this initiative. My slogan this year has been "we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable," – we need to embrace these conversations and ask more questions. If celebrations and acknowledgments like Black History Month make even one student feel more comfortable at Crescent, then I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished. Hopefully, students in the future will feel like they have a voice, particularly those that have been impacted by societal structures that can prevent their success.
How has your involvement in this initiative affected your experience at Crescent? Full disclosure, when I came to Crescent, I wanted to leave my footprints in the hockey program and with courses like Philosophy and Law. Since being a part of the Diversity PLC, my goal has adjusted to seeking inclusivity among staff, students and the community. I feel a new sense of purpose and drive. During Black History Month, I spoke during assembly about Hip Hop. I was able to talk about the language, the importance of context, and how an art form as impactful as Hip Hop needs to be understood and listened to. My Crescent family has shown me extensive support and has allowed me to be who I am. I am unapologetically Sean DeZilva. For a long time, this was a tough thing to do.
Describe some of your interests outside of Crescent. If you want to talk Hip Hop, movies, and television, I have all the time in the world for you. I've also been known to have really long conversations about cooking and food. Aside from playing sports growing up, I watch a ton of sports and am actively committed to willing the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl victory before I die. I also love trivia and board games, and even make them from time to time (yes...make them). While I was in England, I had the ability to travel to more places than I thought I ever could and now I'm bit by the travel bug.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know? I think I've said too much already.