Who Am I?

I came into teaching nine years ago, in a rather interesting way. I married my wife, who is a teacher, and spent so much time around the school, other teachers and students, that I felt compelled to become a teacher myself. I was drawn to the students’ curiosity for learning, something I feel I still have as an adult. I wanted to be part of that learning and their development. I believe my 20+ years in Engineering, Finance and Project Management have made me a stronger teacher. My engineering training has allowed me to bring real life examples and real world passion into my Mathematics and Design Technology classes. My understanding of finance and mathematics allows me to easily manage department budgets. Because I do love mathematics, I try to incorporate it into my design lessons as much as possible. My Project Management background has helped me to be a more reflective teacher, as I am consistently looking for ways to improve the structure in my teaching.

I am a dedicated, creative, flexible and energetic education professional who strives to build strong collaborative relationships with administration, teachers, parents and students.  I have taught  both MS and HS Design Technology, as well as MS Mathematics. I have also, for one year in my certification studies, taught SL Math and Math Studies. I am DP trained in Mathematics and MYP trained in Design Technology. No matter the age of the students I teach, I believe that they are the focal point of the educational process. I recognise that all students have individual learning styles, language abilities, and needs, which I try to accommodate in my lessons. I believe in giving my students personalised learning experiences where they have the opportunity to be challenged according to their own level of learning. My lessons are created to allow students a great deal of choice, giving the students more ownership over their learning. The students enjoy my classes, which helps to foster an environment of mutual respect, caring and trust.

I do not believe in teachers or students working in isolation. While working at the Western Academy of Beijing, I was fortunate enough to work with a team of 4 Design Technology teachers, giving me ample opportunities to collaborate and even team teach at times. I have collaborated with the Visual Art students, assisting them in learning how to sculpt with Design Technology tools and CAD. I have also worked with teachers and students in the Elementary school. When a Grade 3 teacher asked if I would be willing to help two of her students with their “dream project” unit, I gladly said yes.  I spent 6 weeks helping them build the coffee table they had designed.  Likewise, when the Grade 2 teachers approached me about giving tours and demonstrations to their students, I again jumped at the chance.  I have conducted these tours annually for three years.  I demonstrate 3D printing, the laser cutter, and a plasma cutter.  I give each student a 3D printed “crocodile paper clip” which I created. The children are always very excited by this.  The extra crocodiles, which I give to the teachers, have become a reward mechanism in Grade 2!  Finally, I have also collaborated with the HS Science teachers when we jointly advised Gr. 11 students on Group 4 projects. All these collaborations, and the many more I have worked on, have helped me challenge and develop my own teaching practice.

I believe that there are endless learning opportunities outside of the four walls of my classroom. I have served as a supervisor for F1 in Schools, the Eco-Car/Green Power Challenge, and Robotics Club. I believe that co-curricular activities offer students rich opportunities for learning that would not usually happen in their classes. Additionally, for activities that are planned by others, I support them by volunteering in any way I can. The Drama teacher puts on a musical every year and asks for help from my department to help build the sets. It is without hesitation that I do this. The same applied for WAB’s annual Rock in the Park rock festival, for which I designed and built games. When the Grade 12 students planned a lock-in/sleepover, I volunteered yet again. I have chaperoned MS dances as well. I feel all of these activities cannot happen without the full support of the staff. We all have the same goal in the end: to provide meaningful and safe learning experiences for the students.

In summary, my philosophy is to challenge students by creating interesting units of study, collaborate with and learn from my colleagues, and support the broader school community in any way possible.