shelleythomasbw-5 - Version 2

You know that “Ah-ha!” moment, that split second that changes everything for a student? When ideas make sense and suddenly click? When the world is instantly illuminated in Technicolor? I love that. That’s the Holy Grail for most teachers. For many of us that’s what keeps us coming back. Watching wonder and curiosity take root and grow. But the “Ah-has!” don’t come easily. They require risk and vulnerability or, as Amy Poehler might say, “getting our hair wet”. They also require time. Good teaching has always been about that, I think. About finding that perfect balance.

I’m fascinated by the intersection of learning and technology. As technologies continue to emerge and morph, they shape our students’ current global, cultural, and social experiences. And while our teaching must be sensitive to this digital proliferation, we must aim to model innovative, idiosyncratic and select use of digital tools. In doing so, we enable our students to take calculated risks, maximize their creative and analytical potential in post secondary studies, the workforce, but more importantly, in their twenty-first century lives.

I’m fortunate to work at a school where “Ah-has!” abound daily. Like most of you, I wear many hats. I am Head of Innovation and Instructional Technologies and a teacher of English Literature and Film Studies. I get to take risks and be creative everyday. Whether it’s nurturing the cinematic talents of students or lending a voice to the chorus of protest, my happiest moments have been ones when students have taken the plunge and found that they can swim against the current. While some of my teachers have been fictional: Holden Caulfield, Blanche Du Bois, Chaplin’s ‘Little Fellow’ (characters that took risks and moved against the crowd), my greatest teachers have often been my students. They continue to show me profound truths about life and beauty and art.

As a Facilitator, I’m excited to be a part of the rich and vibrant Cohort 21 community. I’m looking forward to learning alongside everyone, making new friends, exploring uncharted territory in our classrooms, and contributing to a culture of exploration and reflection.


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