Special Feature: If I Knew Then What I Know Now (A Talk to Teachers)

Delivered today to the teachers of the PSHS Main.

I loved writing this talk since it gave me a chance to reflect and see how far I’ve gone. This could have easily been two, one-hour talks but I had to compress it to thirty minutes (which I got to finish in 39). Yeah.

To those who are just viewing this presentation online, here are some notes:

I wrote the talk as if the me-who-was-just-starting-out was seated in the audience. I recalled what I felt and thought then (the upper gray half of the slide) and commented on it with what I feel and think now (the lower blue half). The yellow-orange text is an added thought or explanation from the present-me.

I just breezed through these six insights, punctuating each with a quick story or an observation about our students today. I did talk about the role the Internet plays and why we teachers should compete with it for our students’ attention. I also admitted some of the rookie mistakes I’ve made in the past, and how I arrived at my insights now. Perhaps I’ll reconstruct the talk from these slides soon.

The second part is where I brought all the six points together by describing how I teach SS2. My students will be familiar with the words starting from slide 9. I also said a quick but very strong word against class grades (ie. one grade per class), which was one of my rookie mistakes, and how I’ve made up for it since then by utilizing detailed, job-specific rubrics for group projects. I ended the talk by sharing some stories about the Middle East Summit, particularly two of the more emotional events this year. I made sense of it by introducing the notion of ekstasis as one way for our students to learn.

All in all a short and simple talk. I really enjoyed it. This ranks among some of my favorite talks and speeches so far, and I hope to impart more in the future. 🙂

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