Posts Tagged ‘Neil deGrasse Tyson’

So ….. is hoodwinking our kids into believing that the tooth fairy is real the right kind of thing to do?  Or should we instead be helping them learn to distinguish fantasy from reality?

Never thought about it?

I hadn’t either – not until I listened to Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about the tooth fairy on the The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Imagine how easily we could apply this kind of logic to so much of what we teach our students!

It’s a little mind-boggling – no?!



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Teaching has to be one of the most demanding jobs around. So much to know.  So much to master.  So much to impart and share with students in your care.  And oh yeah ….. don’t forget the accountability you owe to the school administration.  And of course the parents want their pound of flesh from you too.  And oh yes ….. there’s all those other things you do in the course of your busy week at school.

So hang on there, what have I just said?  Let me just replay that:

So much to know:

  • subject content
  • curriculum structure
  • latest teaching/learning theory
  • child development
  • names of students in the 5 to 6 classes you teach (goodness: 150 students!)
  • students’ different learning styles
  • personal ‘issues’ facing individual students
  • school vision, mission and policies
  • state regulations and laws

So much to master:

  • teaching style and techniques
  • learning theory: how do children learn
  • communication styles
  • computer technology: hardware
  • computer technology: software (programs)
  • Internet and Web based skills
  • embedding computer technology into curriculum
  • embedding  computer technology, Internet and Web skills into curriculum
  • embedding  computer technology, Internet and Web skills into your teaching style

Accountability to administration:

  • lesson plans
  • term blocks
  • ongoing assessment
  • reporting to faculty heads, campus heads and principal
  • curriculum documentation
  • attendance at faculty, campus and school wide meetings
  • accounting for budget expenditure

Accountability to parents:

  • daily/weekly communication: emails, phone calls
  • parent teacher interviews
  • report writing
  • year level assemblies
  • end of year school assemblies
  • year level after school meetings: orientation sessions, information sessions …..
  • excursions: preparation, execution and report back
  • newsletters
  • year book

All the other bits and pieces:

  • yard duty (including wet day duty!)
  • camp attendance
  • special interest clubs: lunchtime and after school
  • special school wide events and celebrations
  • school musical: creation, performance, supervision
  • sports day: supervision
  • weekend detention
  • weekend sport supervision
  • school open day
  • school tours: after school, weekends
  • weekly assemblies
  • attendance at professional learning sessions
  • extra curricula program involvement

Doesn’t your head spin when you consider all that you do in the course of a day or a week?  Don’t you ever stop and wonder how you even make it through the week?

But hang on!   There’s something I’ve not even mentioned!


What’s that you say?   On top of tackling all the other aspects of the job, I have to be passionate about what I do in the classroom, in the staffroom, in the school?  I have to be enthusiastic in the performance of my duties?  Passionate even?

Alas ….. the answer is obvious and simple.

Yes – we have to be passionate in the classroom.  Which student will be inspired to learn if the teacher in front of them just walks through the lesson content, assigning homework and learning tasks along the way?  Project yourself into the spare seat in your class.  Ask yourself if you sound interesting ….. if the subject content is challenging, engaging, inspiring.   Are you passionate about what you do, what you think, what you feel and how you impart this to your students?  Do you feel that you are leaving your mark on the lives of the students in your class, placing a plank in the scaffolding that you aim to leave with them?  Do your students leave your classroom with a word of thanks for a great lesson?

In between the busy work-a-day routine we have in schools, it is essential to inspire, to impart that spark, that joy, that passion for all we believe.   Without a doubt, being passionate, being inspirational will spur learning and creativity.     Neil deGrasse Tyson says it well.   We should be aiming to prove him wrong though.  Get out there and light a flame!

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