Last Term Was A Good Term At the Chalkface

(Note: So sometimes I use my blog to be open and honest about my successes and failures as a teacher. This is one of those. Please skip it if you prefer my rants to my cathartic moments.)

Last term was a good term.

I am not going to moralize about it.

I am not going to try to sublimate out a ‘deeper’ meaning.

Just this:

  1. A couple of my senior students engaged in a heated debate with a climate change denialist about global warming at home on Twitter. They argued rationally and politely and with a delightfully composed maturity – while their opponent swore and threatened his way through it. Apparently, they do this kind of ‘polite civic education’ for fun. The challenge is to compose a sound, logical, well-evidenced line of reasoning (complete with authoritative links) no matter how rude their opponent is. They make me so proud.
  2. Two girls who thought they couldn’t realised that they could. And then some.
  3. I got an entire junior class so excited about a map skills lesson that they ended up shouting – all to earn experience points on the gamification platform I use.
  4. A ‘problem’ kid found out that he learns best on an iPad. 40 minutes of hard work and he produced a masterpiece on Notability… and never a sound or a moment of distraction.
  5. I convinced a young man in Grade 9 to come to chess practice for the first time. He beat the school’s Board 2. Twice!
  6. My theme song (Discovery Channel’s ‘Boom de Yada’) is spreading. They arrive at, and leave my class singing. And kids I don’t even teach anymore hum it when they walk past.
  7. I convinced a despondent teacher that she was not alone in trying to encourage independent thinking skills and that not everyone thinks that ‘teaching to the exam’ is the way education should work.
  8. I convinced a parent that intelligence is not in-built or static – and that her child was not ‘dumb’ because he wasn’t getting great marks at school.
  9. Some of my students are beginning to realize that the point of my assessments is actually to nurture creativity, independence and critical thinking.
  10. I experimented with getting students to help me with structuring a learning plan for a new section of work. I still need to improve how I actually implemented it, but I think great things can come of this approach.

Hopefully, the rest of 2015 will be as good. Or better.

I do like my job.




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